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Robert Mathis on Dwight Freeney's Hall of Fame career: 'The man has earned it'

Mathis discussed what made Freeney great and told stories from "Bring The Heat Boulevard" in Friday's episode of Overtime on the Colts Audio Network. You can watch the interview below or listen to it wherever you get your podcasts. 

On his way to leading the NFL with 16 sacks in 2004, Dwight Freeney didn't shy away from taking on the tough assignments on Sunday. One game that stood out in Robert Mathis' mind came on Dec. 19, 2004 against the Baltimore Ravens.

Across from Freeney was stalwart left tackle Jonathan Ogden, a future first-ballot Hall of Famer. Freeney got the best of him that night, dropping quarterback Kyle Boller for two sacks. On the latter sack, Freeney hit his patented spin move to beat Ogden across his face and drop Boller in the pocket. The Colts won, 20-10, and that game – and year – was a perfect example of why Freeney, two decades later, will take his place in Canton among the game's greats.

"That particular year it was like, nobody can stop him one on one. Nobody," Mathis said (listen to his full interview on "Overtime" on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts). "I don't care if you want to put whatever O-linemen — Jonathan Ogden, he got burned for (two) sacks. We're not going to do that.

"I would put Dwight up against anybody one-on-one at any point in history. Any O-tackle. That's how much confidence, that's how dominant I know he was.

"... Here's the mark of a great, elite player. Put him against another elite player and trust him to win. Give him a one-on-one and he's not going to get shut out. A lot of players these days, they kind of run away from the Trent Williamses, the Lane Johnsons. No — I'm going over here all game and we finna see what's up. Dwight never shied away from that."

Mathis – the NFL's strip-sack king and a three-time Pro Football Hall of Fame semifinalist in his own right – shared more perspective on his Canton-bound teammate on Friday's "Overtime" Podcast, including:

  • The moment Mathis' respect for Freeney went "through the roof"
  • How Freeney was a pioneer of certain diet and exercise habits
  • The one and only time Mathis played cards against the hyper-competitive Freeney
  • The "BS" of Reggie Wayne not getting in the Hall of Fame again
  • Adam Vinatieri's shot of being a first-ballot Hall of Famer next year

Subscribe to the Colts Audio Network on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts and never miss an episode of "Overtime," which reacts to and analyzes the latest Colts news. You can also catch episodes of the Official Colts Podcast every Tuesday on the Colts Audio Network.

Check out photos of Pro Football Hall of Famer and Indianapolis Colts great Dwight Freeney.

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