INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Mathis, one of the greatest pass rushers in NFL and Indianapolis Colts history, today was announced as one of six inductees for the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020.
Mathis and the five other 2020 inductees — Earl "Air" Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Erik Williams (Central State), coach Joe Taylor (Howard, Hampton, FAMU, Virginia Union) and Commissioner Dennis Thomas (MEAC) — will be honored at the 11th annual Black College Football Hall of Fame induction ceremony Feb. 22, 2020, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Mathis, of course, was an absolute terror for opposing quarterbacks during his 14-year NFL career with the Colts, but he cut his teeth at the college level at Alabama A&M, where he set several school defensive records.
In his four-year career at Alabama A&M from 1999 through 2002, Mathis set school records in career sacks (41.5), single-season sacks (20, setting the NCAA I-AA record) and single-game sacks (five), as well as career tackles for loss (88.5), tackles for loss in a season (32) and single-game tackles for loss (eight).
Mathis was a steal by the Colts in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft, and it didn't take long for him to make an impact. After collecting 3.5 sacks his rookie year, Mathis burst onto the scene with 10.5 sacks and a league-leading six forced fumbles his second season.
Mathis would retire following the 2016 season after having compiled a Colts franchise-record 123 sacks as well as 54 forced fumbles, the most in NFL history.
He was named to six consecutive Pro Bowls (2008-2013) and was voted a 2013 Associated Press and Sporting News First Team NFL All-Pro selection. In 2013, Mathis won the inaugural Deacon Jones Award as the NFL's sack leader with 19.5, and became the second player in Colts history to lead the league in sacks (Dwight Freeney, 2004). Mathis was named to the 2013 PFWA All-NFL and All-AFC teams as well as the NFL 101 AFC Defensive Player of the Year.
Mathis also appeared in two Super Bowls with the Colts. He had three tackles (one for a loss) and a forced fumble in Indy's 29-17 victory over the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI.