Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

Colts great Mathis says he's retiring

INDIANAPOLIS — When Robert Mathis speaks, the Colts listen. Every time.

It's a right the outside linebacker earned by playing 14 productive NFL seasons — all with the same team, all with the same passion, all with the same penchant for putting quarterbacks on the ground.

So when he finished practice Friday and gathered his teammates, Mathis stood in the center and made his announcement quickly and clearly: Sunday's season finale against the Jaguars will be his last game. He made it official a short time later in an emotional news conference.

"This will be 98's last game," he said.

Mathis, 35, missed 13 games in his first 11 pro seasons but has missed 19 over the past three, including the entire 2014 season — the first four to serve a performance enhancers suspension for what he claimed was a banned fertility drug, the last 12 after tearing his Achilles tendon.

His stats have taken a hit, too.

From 2004-13, Mathis never had fewer than seven sacks or 35 tackles in a season. Those numbers dropped to seven sacks and 24 tackles in 2015 and four sacks and 22 tackles this season.

So Mathis decided to leave the game on his own terms.

"Rob has nothing more to prove, he's such a … good football player," kicker Adam Vinatieri said. "He's just a hard-working dude, a silent warrior."

ROMO LIKELY TO PLAY: The Cowboys have changed course and are planning to get some playing time for quarterback Tony Romo in Sunday's game at Philadelphia, ESPN reported. Dallas has clinched the top seed in the NFC playoffs.

FINES: Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was fined $18,231 for his forearm shiver to Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian well after the ball was thrown. Also docked was Chiefs tight end Demetrius Harris ($12,154) for using the ball as a prop after a touchdown reception. Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane was hit with the biggest fine of Week 16 — $27,236 — for an uncalled hit on Cardinals tight end Jermaine Gresham, who was docked $12,154 for taunting after the play.

CHIEFS: Linebacker Justin Houston was ruled out for Sunday's game with swelling in his surgically repaired left knee.

RAIDERS: Suspended pass rusher Aldon Smith will not be reinstated by the league this season. NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the league has deferred a decision on Smith's petition for reinstatement and will begin consideration in March. Smith had been suspended since November 2015 for violating the league's policy on substance abuse.

SEAHAWKS: Former Bucs defensive end Michael Bennett agreed to a three-year contract extension that will keep him under contract through the 2020 season. Bennett's deal begins with the 2018 season and is worth up to $31.5 million.

VIKINGS: Adrian Peterson is listed as out for Sunday's game, leaving open the possibility the star running back has played his final game for Minnesota. Peterson was listed has having groin and knee injuries.

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