INDIANAPOLIS —Robert Mathis' playing days are behind him, but the Indianapolis Colts' all-time leader in sacks has plenty of knowledge to pass on to the team's new crop of pass rushers.
And after spending time working with the defense the past few months, Mathis on Monday was formally added to the Colts' coaching staff. His official title? Pass Rush Consultant/Player Development.
"I think it's good therapy because you kind of wean yourself off the game," Mathis said in the spring when asked about the process of going from player to coach. "It's really helping me. I just love the atmosphere. I love the locker room aspect, the team aspect. Just being around and giving my knowledge to the younger guys, I think everyone wins."
That knowledge, of course, comes from 14 seasons of terrorizing quarterbacks, all in Indy. He retired following the 2016 season having collected 123 sacks — the most in Colts franchise history — but, perhaps more notably, his 47 strip sacks are more than any other player in National Football League history.
And while that résumé is certainly a huge draw, Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said Mathis has always had the ability to effectively communicate his methods to the team's younger players, something that has already been very apparent in his time working as a coach.
"He can show them, but he can also communicate to them: here's the footwork, here's the hands, here's how to set the offensive lineman up and all those kinds of things," Pagano said of Mathis. "He's really good at relationships. He's got a great demeanor about him. He's got a great sense of calm to him. He always stays pretty steady and pretty measured, so I think he'd be an outstanding coach."
That approach is appreciated by the players, too, like John Simon, who has always been a good all-around player at the outside linebacker position, but has been sure to soak in everything Mathis has been willing to teach him from a pass-rush standpoint in his first year with the Colts.
"To be able to have him sit in your meetings and pick his brain on a daily basis, that's something that we take to heart in the outside linebacker room, and that's something that we have to continue to take advantage of," Simon said of Mathis. "Because he's done it all, he's seen it all — he knows what he's talking about."
Mathis at first wasn't quite sure what he wanted to do with his post-retirement career, but once he started heading to the Colts' team facility on a near-daily basis this offseason, he said it wasn't long before it became clear.
While Indianapolis was always going to be his home moving forward, now Mathis has even more of a reason to stick around.
"This is the only place that I know, the only place that took a chance on me, so I feel this is my way of giving back," Mathis said. "I love this organization. I feel like I'm a loyal guy.
"I feel at home here," he continued. "It gives my family the best opportunity for success being here."