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Colts linebacker Mathis to retire after season finale

Reuters

(The Sports Xchange) - Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis announced on Friday he will retire after Sunday's game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, ending 14 years with the organization.

Five-time Pro Bowler Mathis, 35, spent his entire career with the Colts after being selected in the fifth round out of Alabama A&M in 2003. He has 122 career sacks -- tied for 18th all-time in the National Football League.

"I want to walk away, not limp away," Mathis told reporters Friday. "Put a cap on a blessed career. Something I would have never imagined that would come to pass. Severely blessed, fortunate. God has been good to me."

Mathis has played in 191 career games (120 starts) notching 601 tackles, 51 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries (three returned for touchdowns) and one interception. He has four sacks in 13 games this season.

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He competed in 18 postseason contests (11 starts) and tallied 48 tackles, 6.5 sacks, two passes defensed, five forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

Mathis was a member of the Colts' Super Bowl 41-winning team.

"Robert has been a very special player for our franchise for 14 seasons," Colts owner and CEO Jim Irsay said in a statement.

"I will miss watching him terrorize opposing quarterbacks, chasing them down with his incredible speed and knocking the ball from their grasp, as he did innumerable times. He was a game changer."

Mathis, who switched from defensive end to outside linebacker in 2012, won the inaugural Deacon Jones Award as the NFL's sack leader in 2013 with 19.5.

Mathis missed all of the 2014 season -- first because of a four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs and then due to a torn Achilles.

Quarterback Andrew Luck praised Mathis for his leadership skills.

"Robert is the best type of teammate anybody could ask for. He truly is," said Colts quarterback Andrew Luck. "He's an incredibly hard worker. He's very motivational to be around. Everything he does is team first. He's a great leader."

(Editing by Larry Fine)

 
 
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