After 10 seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars, cornerback Rashean Mathis will not reach an eleventh as he was told by general manager Dave Caldwell on Tuesday that he will not be offered a contract to stay with the team, according to Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union.
Mathis, 32, was a second round selection by the team in the 2003 NFL Draft and started 129 games for the team, setting the franchise record for interceptions with 30 in his career. His best season was undoubtedly the 2006 campaign when he finished with spots on the AP All-Pro team and the AFC Pro Bowl team after finishing with eight interceptions.
Caldwell spoke to O'Halloran about the release, telling him: "It was a difficult decision because he's done so many things not only for the team but the community." In a phone call with Gene Frenette of the Times-Union, Mathis expressed a similar sentiment of gratitude: "I'm not bitter, I'm blessed, and I truly mean that. ... Hopefully, another opportunity will knock."
In Mathis's final season with the Jaguars, he saw time in 12 games, but started in just four, playing in a reserve role for the first time in his career. He did not record an interception, but did finish with 20 tackles and five passes defended.
After 10 seasons, Mathis leaves the Jaguars as the all-time leader in interceptions, interceptions returned for touchdowns, passes defended, as well as finishing third in career tackles and fifth in total games played with the franchise.
Thank you fans, community, and organization. It's been a blessed ride.— Rashean mathis (@MathisRashean27) March 6, 2013
Farewell to Rashean Mathis. A true Jaguar legend and an even better person. #Respect— Russell Allen (@RussellAllen50) March 6, 2013