Long-tenured cornerback Rashean Mathis has been informed by the Jacksonville Jaguars that he will not be returning to the team for the 2013 season. This comes on the heels of a disappointing season in which Mathis returned on a one-year, incentive-heavy contract. Mathis appeared in just 12 games, starting four, and had just five passes defensed and 20 tackles.
This is the end of a very long career in Jacksonville for Mathis. Mathis has played every season for the Jaguars since being drafted in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. From 2003-2006 he never missed a game before injuries started to take their toll. From 2007-2012 Mathis completed just one full season (2010) and saw his production decline.
Mathis leaves Jacksonville as the franchise leader in interceptions with 30. 2006 was his lone Pro Bowl appearance. He was also named to the All-Pro team that season. The move away from Mathis definitely marks the beginning of a new era in Jacksonville.
A long-time Jaguar, Mathis has left his mark on the franchise and the community. Ryan O’Halloran talked to GM Dave Caldwell about the decision. “It was a difficult decision because he’s done so many things not only for the team but for the community,” said Caldwell. In speaking to the Times-Union, Mathis showed his continual class in saying, “I’m not bitter, I’m blessed, and I truly mean that…hopefully another opportunity will knock.”
It will be tough to see the veteran go, but it is the right time for the Jaguars to move on. The team is looking for more productive, younger pieces for the future and Mathis simply no longer fits that mold. In an offseason that promises to bring many changes, Mathis’ dismissal will likely be the first of many familiar faces to leave.
We here at B&T wish you best in your future endeavors, Mr. Mathis.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims