INDIANAPOLIS – “To an amazing teammate and friend, enjoy retirement!!”
That was the message Dwight Freeney penned to Robert Mathis on a signed jersey.
Freeney delivered a Falcons jersey to his former teammate as a retirement present.
If Freeney is still playing in 2017, he will be trying to chase down Mathis on the NFL’s all-time sack list.
Mathis (122.5 career sacks) currently sits in 17th place. Freeney is just a half sack behind his former teammate, in 18th position.
Earlier this week, Freeney caught up MMQB’s Kayln Kahler where the former Colts great shared his thoughts on Mathis heading into retirement.
KAHLER: You’re 36 years old, a year older than Robert Mathis! Have you considered retirement at all?
FREENEY: Yeah, I mean, you kind of start thinking about that whenever a guy who came in after you is starting to retire and you’re still here. You get little hints, like maybe it is time for you to get out of here. But I don’t know, I’m still having a ball.KAHLER: Did you and Mathis talk while he was making his decision?
FREENEY: We talked a little and he told me this is it for him. We have a real close relationship, so we reminisced about back in the day when we were on the same team and he was telling me that was going to be his last game coming up.KAHLER: What’s your best Mathis story?
FREENEY: I don’t know if I have a go-to story. Robert is a man of few words. We joke about how if we ever put a mic on Robert during the game, you would hear nothing but static, just absolutely nothing. Total silence. He’s a good guy, we grinded together on the same field for years. I always knew I could count on him whenever something was going on with me, I could count on him to make the play.KAHLER: When you left Indianapolis after the 2012 season, you and Mathis would text back and forth to egg each other on and push each other to play better. Are you going to miss that motivation and competitive fire?
FREENEY: I am going to miss it, yeah. We had a little funny thing going, his numbers are so close to my numbers. It was like two old guys in a race, which one is going to win the race type of thing. We had some pretty funny texts. I don’t know what is going to happen with me next year, but if I do end up playing again, it is going to be really weird not playing at the same time as Robert.KAHLER: You are a half sack behind Mathis in the record books. Now that he’s done, you can definitely pass him if you play another year. Is that motivation enough?
FREENEY: Oh yeah, I don’t know what exactly is going to happen next year. I promise you that me playing next year has nothing to do with that. It’s just a matter of how I feel and If I want to come back next year or not.KAHLER: What are you thinking right now about your future?
FREENEY: For the last three or four years, I’ve made these decisions a couple months after the season. It takes all the emotion out and whatever happens at the end of year out, so I don’t base my decision on that. So that’s what I am going to do this year, same type of thing.KAHLER: Did Mathis motivate you to continue playing this season?
FREENEY: *Yeah, he texted me and told me, Hey man, don’t call it quits yet. I’m just trying to get 130 sacks. He motivated me. I didn’t know where I was going to be either. At the end of every year I reevaluate it.KAHLER: Whenever you do decide to retire, is Mathis going to be part of that conversation with you?*
FREENEY: Yeah absolutely, I will hit him up and let him know, Hey, I’m done. We’ll see what happens.