Jean Francois was looking for a particular number.
“100 sacks and he wasn’t there yet,” Jean Francois said back during training camp.
After looking up that stat, Jean Francois made a promise with his new team, and to his new teammate.
“One of my goals is to get him over that (mark) before he leaves the NFL,” Jean Francois said in late July.
The 2013 season is just over a month old and Jean Francois can already cross off one of his goals.
“Not many guys in NFL history can say they have 100 sacks,” Jean Francois said last week. “I’m happy and blessed to be playing with a guy that has over 100 sacks. Having a guy with that many sacks, you are talking about another level.”
The fellow Colts defensive linemen could not be prouder to play a role in the accomplishment that Mathis achieved at the end of the first half against the Seahawks.
“For Rob to have that accomplishment is huge,” Redding says. “I know last year we talked about it and what it would be for him to get there. This year we made it an emphasis to do what we got to do to get him to that goal and just to have him blow it wide open and get as many sacks as he can.”
The 100-sack number is a feat in itself but Redding points out how Mathis has gone about his 9.5 sacks in the first five weeks of the season.
Mathis accomplished this feat for a team that has won four of the first five games and is doing it within the “framework” of the defense.
Across the locker room, Jean Francois nods his head in agreement when asked about Mathis playing “within the defense.”
“I think that’s the hardest thing that most people don’t see. When most guys see they have a record in sight, they will go out of the framework of the defense. We are trying to get him free though because we know if he’s free or one-on-one, 10-out-of-10 times he’s making that sack,” Jean Francois says.
Colts defensive end
Moala has watched Mathis rack up 47.5 sacks since the two became teammates.
Nearly out of breath after an afternoon lifting session, Moala’s eyes lit up when asked about what it means to see Mathis reach the 100-sack plateau.
“I can’t even begin to understand all the hard work, perseverance that Robert has put into achieving that number,” Moala says. “It’s just a testament to who he is as a person, just a hard worker, stand up guy and a great leader”