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January 9, 2012

Eagles G, Evan Mathis Interview

by Max Strauss

Evan Mathis played college football at the University of Alabama. He earned First-Team All-SEC Honors in 2004 after having a great season. He entered the 2005 NFL Draft and was drafted by the Panthers in the 3rd round. He played for the Panthers from 2005-2007, then Dolphins in 2008, and the Bengals from 2008-2010. He most recently started 15 games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011.

Add Evan Mathis as a Facebook Friend by clicking here. 

Strauss : Before we start the interview, what’s your prediction for the BCS Championship Game?

Mathis : Alabama will win, 20-17. Trent Richardson is a beast.

Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?

Mathis : I connect with them mainly through Twitter (@EvanMathis69).  Social networking has really changed the game and allowed for a lot of fan and player interaction.

Strauss : When did you start playing football?

Mathis : I didn’t start playing football until I was in the eighth grade.

Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?

Mathis : I didn’t even start on the freshman team.  I was a lanky kid, and it took me a while to get it all together physically and mentally.  I became a starter in the 11th grade and played much better as a senior.

Strauss : What was the transition like to Alabama?

Mathis : During February of 2000, my senior year in high school, I was finishing up wrestling season and weighed 240.  The entire football season before that, I was telling college teams that I weighed 255.  I was able to bulk up to 270 before reporting to Alabama.  I redshirted my freshman year and used that time to get adjusted to playing college ball.

Strauss : What is your favorite memory from Alabama?

Mathis : Defeating Auburn at their place with a score of 31-7 in 2001. Another was the 10-win season in 2002. It was bittersweet because we were on probation and couldn’t go to the SEC Championship or a Bowl game. We scheduled a game against Hawaii in Hawaii as the last game of the season to make up for any missed bowl game. But, the whole experience at Alabama was great.  That school has the best fans in the country and is oozing with tradition.

Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?

Mathis : I had a few friends over to my mom’s house in Birmingham, Alabama.  I thought that I would be drafted in the 2nd round.  The first day of picks were rounds 1-3 then, and the day got very long waiting for my name to be called.  The 2nd round seemed like it took forever and as the 3rd came around, I was really wondering how things were going to play out.  Carolina called me and I was the 79th pick of the draft, which was about the middle of the 3rd round.

Strauss : Can you take me through your journey in the NFL…

Mathis : My rookie year was 2005 and I didn’t get much playing time beyond Special Teams, and it was somewhat frustrating as I had much higher expectations.  In 2006, I started 15 games at right guard, and played well, and was looking forward to progressing my career from there.  The next year, our offensive coordinator and offensive line coach were fired.  Their replacements were fond of larger guards and I had always been on the small end at 300 pounds. I ended up buried on the depth chart and was even moved to tackle. I was totally irrelevant for the 2007 season, and I was absolutely miserable.  I used the next offseason to bulk up to 320 to try and play the part. It didn’t really matter because I was merely a camp body in 2008. I have yet to figure out why the Panthers never gave me a chance again.  

After training camp in 2008, they cut me, I was picked up by the Dolphins before the 2nd game of the season and started sharing time with their right guard.  I was released from there during the 10th week of the season and picked up by the Bengals two weeks later.  

I didn’t play beyond Special Teams for the rest of that season for yet another meaningless year.  I stayed relentless and came into Bengals camp lean and mean in 2009.  After a solid camp, I was the backup at all three, interior positions and chomping at the bit to get a chance to play.  During the 2nd quarter of the first game, our left guard sprained his MCL and I got my chance.  I proceeded to start seven games that year and played lights out.  During the seventh start, I suffered a high ankle sprain and ended up missing the next three games. When I returned, I played the second and fourth quarters of the remaining games. I didn’t like splitting time because it was tough to stay warm and get in the zone.  The next year, I missed mini-camp and the first week of training camp with a torn calf.  When the season started, I was again the backup at the interior three positions.  2010 was a waste as I only saw the field for about 100 snaps.

Staying hungry and relentless, I trained my ass off for almost seven straight months under the guidance of my staff at Zone Athletic Performance in preparation for the 2011 season.  I got into camp with the Eagles and earned the starting job before the season opener.  Just now, in my seventh year, I feel like my career has started.

Strauss : What was a highlight of the lockout experience?

Mathis : I opened up a training facility in December 2010 in Scottsdale, Arizona called Zone Athletic Performance (  I was able to help get the gym started and more importantly, get the best training of my life for almost seven months.  I made a huge amount of progress physically and put myself in a great position for training camp.

Strauss : What’s your favorite memory with the Philadelphia Eagles from this past season?

Mathis : Definitely Shady getting the Eagles’ record for touchdowns in a season.

Strauss : How do you describe your style of play? Do you compare it to anyone?

Mathis : I’m aggressive, fast, and I finish.  I don’t like to compare my game to anybody else’s.  I haven’t seen anyone who, across the board, sets the bar high enough for me to aim.  I have great expectations and will continue to do everything I can to achieve them.

Strauss : What’s Coach Andy Reid like?

Mathis : Andy Reid is the most professional and organized coach that I have been around.  He is a very smart guy and cares about his players. There’s a reason he’s the longest tenured coach in the NFL.

Strauss : Who has had the most impact on your career?

Mathis : Howard Mudd.  I’ve always had the ability and I’ve always had the desire.  The one thing that was really missing was the guidance.  I can do anything a coach tells me to do, I just need to be told how.  Howard is the type of guy who knows exactly what works in this game.  He’s really done a great job of helping me improve each week.  The longer I spend playing under him, the better I will become.

Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?

Mathis : You’re making me hungry.

Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, do you have any advice for them?

Mathis : Always believe in yourself, and always work to improve what you need to improve.

Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Evan, I really appreciate it.

Mathis : Thanks, and follow me on Twitter: @EvanMathis69, I’m here to entertain.

->Here are the personal questions that Evan Mathis answered too.<-

Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?

Mathis : I’d like to meet someone like Ricky Gervais.  He’s a funny person.

Strauss : Who was your childhood star?

Mathis  : I grew up following Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Frank Thomas.

Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show?

Mathis : Dexter. Vigilante justice can be awesome.

Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?

Mathis : As a child, it was The Neverending Story.  I was intrigued by the amount of imagination in the film, and now I’m more into mind-benders like Fight Club & Memento.

Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?

Mathis : Pre-1992 McDonald’s Apple pies. RIP :(.

Strauss : What would be your last meal on earth? (entree, sides, salads, dessert, drink, all of it)

Mathis : Little Caesar’s crazy bread… Endless bags of it.

Strauss : What is your favorite song?

Mathis : I usually stay true to my childhood tastes.  When I was four years old, I really like Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.” And, it’s still a damn good song.

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