Mathis On His Decision To Report

NFL: San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles

Evan Mathis knew that holding out was his only real leverage play, and that his leverage grew when Lane Johnson failed his drug test. But he just couldn’t bring himself to do it.

“It was easy for me to sit there and think about it a month ago but when it was getting down closer to the wire, it was not something I could see myself doing really. For multiple reasons. When I was in elementary school and I got sick and I missed a day of school I felt bad because I was behind, and this is not the kind of stuff you want to get behind on,” said Mathis as the team reported to NovaCare for training camp Friday.

“I try to look at it my point of view, try to look at it from their point of view. I didn’t want to have a negative impact on the team. I didn’t want to send the wrong message to the players, coaches, fans. I look at what I’m doing as doing the right thing in the situation.”

Do you think you’ll get rewarded for it?

“I have no idea.”

Mathis is entering the third year of a five-year, $25 million contract he signed in 2012.  His 2014 salary of $5.15 million is seventh among guards according to spotrac. He has no guaranteed money left in the deal, however, and wants a contract that better reflects the current market and his level of production. The Eagles do not want to set a precedent by re-doing a player’s deal this early into it. There has been “plenty of communication” between the Eagles and Mathis’ agent, Drew Rosenhaus, but it looks like things will stay as they are for now.

Contract issues can lead to distractions and a drop off in play, as the Eagles experienced with DeSean Jackson back in 2011. Mathis says that is not a concern when it comes to him.

“I’m able to put anything on the back burner when it comes to playing football,” he said.

“It’s not something I’ve always been able to do. It’s something I’ve developed. Something I’ve always worked to develop because focus is  huge part of this game. You have to stay focused at all times during a game. I used to let stuff creep into my mind, overthink things, now I just simplify it, focus on the task at hand and not think about anything else.”

The 32-year-old All-Pro guard said that the prospect of getting fined $30,000 a day if he held out didn’t scare him, rather that it came down to doing right by his teammates and coaches.

Mathis was also asked about Johnson, who is suspended for the first four games of the regular season for failing a drug test.

“Obviously that’s not a good situation there. Lane did something that was not very smart and paid the price for it. It’s not like he was taking something for an extended period of time,” he said. “He got caught in a small window doing it, thinking that he was able to take that because he had a prescription. If he would have gone through the proper channels it would have been taken care of but he didn’t do that and he’ll pay the price for that.”

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  • Tracer Bullet

    Sure. His teammates. Not the reality that the Eagles were never going to cave, his agent couldn’t swing a trade or that he would lose $30K every day he was out. Let’s go with the “for the good of the team angle.” Smooth work by the savvy veteran.

    • Spaceman Spiff

      I don’t know, Evan is a stand up dude and I think he really doesn’t want to let anyone down…

      • Tracer Bullet

        And I’m sure that was a factor. But if any of those other factors had gone the other way, he would have issued a press release today saying, “I want to be on the field with my teammates, preparing to do battle for the best fans in the NFL, but I have to do what’s best for myself and my family.” Just like every other time an NFL player started a holdout.

        • Michael Myers

          what other factors?

    • Bring back geagle

      Bit too sinister view. After listening to how chip raves about him and his work ethic, I have no doubt he decided to play bc he would’ve missed his teammates and the game moreover. Stand up guy

  • jpate

    Every time i hit refresh there is a new article. It’s like Christmas in here

    • jpate

      Oh and just pay the man something!

  • Michael Myers

    very zen approach…methinks kelly would approve

  • CHRIS – CB with dreads

    I think his current value of 5m/year is fair based on age. does anyone know if they do contacts where they just rework the terms so that the $ amount is the same, the length of contract is the same but the guaranteed money is there? I feel like the team doesn’t really gain anything from that but just curious if anyone has heard of anything like that. Usually what i see when they change the guaranteed/bonus money, they change the length of the deal along with it.

  • Kev_H

    Unfortunately, he has no leverage. If he holds out, gets off to a slow start and has a down year, at his age it would be tough to recover from. If he was 25-or-26, people would have an easier time overlooking the down year and expecting a bounce back.

  • Travis Papa

    Mathis is now the 6th highest paid OG in football with Carl nicks retiring. He needs to forget about a new contract. Should have only signed a 3yr deal. NFL should have a maximum of 4yr deals fully guaranteed and neither side can renegotiate until after the 3rd yr is completed