Last week, we wrote about a radio interview in which Robert Mathis said that he’s been around the Colts “pretty much every day” this offseason even though he’s retired.
Mathis isn’t an official coach, but he’s been volunteering to help the current players however he can. This week, defensive coordinator Ted Monachino was asked what it’s like having the Colts’ all-time sack leader around as an unofficial coach.
“Robert is volunteering his time right now,” Monachino said. “It’s great to have him in the building any time we can get him in. It’s great to see him out there in a pair of tennis shoes and a pullover instead of in pads too. It’s fun to watch him grow as a coach and I think that might be something he wants to do in his future.”
The Colts have plenty of younger outside linebackers in the building, such as free agent acquisitions Jabaal Sheard, John Simon, and Barkevious Mingo, as well as rookie Tarell Basham. So the opportunity to learn from a guy who spent 14 years in the NFL and recorded 123 sacks and 52 forced fumbles is a tremendous opportunity for them.
“Yeah, what’s so different is Rob is such a different body type than some of those other guys,” Monachino said. “So some of those guys, that skill doesn’t fit with what they’ll do best. But any time they can learn from a master it’s a good thing.”
Mathis decided to retire following the 2016 season, going out in fitting fashion as he recorded a strip-sack in his final game with the Colts, a home victory. Right after the season ended, Mathis approach the Colts about how he could keep helping the team.
“[He asked] ’What can I do to help?’” Monachino explained. “We just sent him to work on it and he went and talked with everybody he needed to talk to and got it approved and here he is, here he comes.”
Mathis insists that he doesn’t want to be a coach - “I know I do not want to be a coach, I’m positive about that,” he said last week - but that doesn’t mean he won’t join the Colts in some role in the future. Either way, Monachino thinks that Mathis does have the skills it takes to be a coach at the NFL level.
“He does a nice job,” Monachino said. “He’s a good communicator. He’s sharp. He thinks ahead. He sees the game through a barn door instead of through a straw. Yeah, he can see how he fits. I think he’s got a trait to do that.”
Whether or not Mathis eventually decides to get into coaching, to take an official role with the team, or continue to serve as an unofficial volunteer, I’m sure the Colts are more than happy to have Mathis around the building still. For years he showed the ability to get after quarterbacks; now he’s trying to help the next generation of Colts do the same.