Eagles Offensive Linemen Evan Mathis and Todd Herremans
PM: At what point in your lives did you realize that you had a chance to play football professionally?
TODD: Probably my junior year in college.
EVAN: In ninth grade, I wrote a journal and said I was going to make straight A’s in high school, and I was going to go to Alabama and play football and baseball and then go to the NFL and then go to the WWF. Obviously, everything there was far-fetched. It’s not like I was good at anything at that age — except writing journals.
TODD: The old Twitter.
EVAN: [laughs] The old Twitter.
PM: Is wrestling still in the plans?
EVAN: Nothing is off the table yet.
TODD: Except for baseball at Alabama.
EVAN: Yeah. Baseball at Alabama was a failure.
PM: Were you a good baseball player in high school?
EVAN: No, I was terrible.
TODD: High hopes.
EVAN: Yeah, high hopes. Just like I told Todd, I can go over to Citizens Bank Park and hit a few out. I’ll do it in the spring.
PM: Would you be a heel or a good guy if you were a wrestler?
EVAN: I’d be a good guy. I was always a fan of the good guys.
PM: Offensive linemen have the reputation of being the smartest men on the team, right up there with the quarterback. Is that true?
TODD: I’d say we have some pretty intellectual people.
EVAN: Absolutely. They’re a very intelligent group of guys.
PM: Why do you think that is?
TODD: I think that at our position, it’s easy to find big guys that can move and stuff. But I think the intangibles that help you get to this level and stick around are the intellect and how you can see scheme and adjust and react.
EVAN: To be successful as an offensive lineman, you have to be efficient at a very, very, very high rate. If you’re not making 90 percent of your blocks, then you’re not doing well.
PM: What is the funniest or worst thing an opponent has said to you on the field?
EVAN: It was 2011 against the Patriots, and we were in the huddle — I guess it was a TV time-out or something — and Gerard Warren from the Patriots looked over and said, “Hey 69, I’m going to eat your pussy.” He put his hands up to his face and made that V-shape and put his tongue between it. It was very, very funny, to say the least. You don’t see as much trash talk as you’d expect. We’re strictly business inside.
PM: But isn’t there some awkwardness to that? You’re lining up nose-to-nose against the same dude over and over.
EVAN: There’s no awkwardness, because you have to shut that out. He got to me if I’m sitting there thinking about what he said during that next play. You laugh at it in the huddle and then you go hit him in the mouth the next play. You don’t let him eat your pussy.
PM: Casual fans know a lot more about offensive linemen now than they probably did 10 years ago. Is that a good thing?
TODD: Usually if they have anything to say about the offensive line it’s not good, so I would rather move along in anonymity, because I think that means you’re doing your job.
EVAN: For the credit we get now, it’s a comfortable level, just above anonymity. In Philadelphia, Nick Foles walks down the street and everyone’s slowing him down, pictures and autographs. If Todd and I go out, it happens, but at a much lower frequency.
TODD: Yeah, people notice you, but it’s usually just like, “Go Eagles!” and you keep walking. People will want to take pictures without knowing who you are: “Hey, look at this big guy!”
EVAN: We went to Maggiano’s as an O-line the first week of the season, and there was a girl sitting next to us that said, “Hey, can I take a picture of y’all?” Five minutes later she has her cell phone out and says, “Will you talk to my brother? He’s a big fan of yours.” And I was like, “What do you mean?’” And she says, “He wants to talk to Claude Giroux.” I looked at her and I was like, “Oh. You have the wrong hockey team.”
PM: Anything unique or interesting about your pre-game routine or post-game routine?
EVAN: I used to have a routine. I used to listen to all kinds of music, getting amped up. But I always feel like it got me too amped up, so before the game I’m the same person I am every day of the week. I do not listen to music. I put the headphones down. There’s no rituals I have or anything like that. I’ll just do normal stuff. It doesn’t matter what order you do it or anything. Nothing weird, nothing unique. Unless it’s unique that I do nothing.
TODD: Pretty basic. I don’t really have anything.
EVAN: You say a prayer before every game.
TODD: Yeah, I do recite the same prayer. If I had to analyze everything I did, I probably do it all in the same order, like left sock, right sock. But I never would think about it.
PM: Quarterbacks are known to get their offensive linemen gifts after the season, and so are running backs, if they have good years. What’s the best or worst gift that you guys have ever gotten?
TODD: I guess the worst gift would have been nothing.
EVAN: The worst gift was nothing. Yes, I remember that.
TODD: I’ve had good stuff over the years. Shady [LeSean McCoy] got us a nice watch. Donovan [McNabb] got us a nice duffel bag a long time ago. I still use it. Donovan got us watches one year. Foles got us Xbox Ones last year. I haven’t really had a bad gift.
EVAN: The best gift I got was after the 2009 season in Cincinnati. Carson Palmer got us all Segways.
TODD: Brian Westbrook got us all travel vouchers one year, which was cool.
PM: That’s a good one. Do what you want with it.
TODD: I still haven’t used it.
EVAN: Is it still valid?
TODD: I think so. There’s no expiration date on it. I know [former Eagle] Jamaal [Jackson] used his four years after he gave ’em to us.
PM: How about nothing?
TODD: I don’t remember who it was.
EVAN: I remember who it was.
TODD: He’ll remain nameless.
PM: Neither of you has ever scored a touchdown at the NFL level, correct?
TODD: False. I’ve scored two.
PM: What were your celebrations, Todd?
TODD: The first one was crazy, because I caught the ball and before I could really even do anything, I spiked the ball. It ricocheted off and hit somebody. And then I turned around and the whole team is mobbing me. So I didn’t really have time to do anything. And then on the second one, I just froze up and spiked the ball. I guess that’s my go-to. [laughter]
PM: What’s going through your head when a guy gets past you and he’s about to crush your quarterback? And don’t say it’s never happened. [laughter]
EVAN: If you go watch the Denver game last year, there was a play where I completely mis-set on a guy, and he got a free run at [Michael] Vick. I’m not gonna let him hit Mike, so I just dove and tackled him. I got a holding call instead of getting the quarterback killed.
TODD: If you ever get beat clean and there’s no chance of saving it, you’re praying: “Get rid of the ball! Get rid of the ball!”
EVAN: Been there a few times. It’s terrible.
An abridged version of this conversation was originally published in the November 2014 issue of Philadelphia magazine.