Rashean Mathis is set to retire on Wednesday afternoon after he signs a one-day contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Mathis played 137 games for the Jaguars and will finish as the franchise's all-time leader in interceptions.
His penchant for a big, athletic play when the Jaguars needed it most will always stand out to fans, as will the fact that he always seemed to hit another gear when we were playing the Pittsburgh Steelers. And those memories against the Steelers are what will stand out when I think back to why Mathis was one of my favorite players.
From watching him play, he was always good. But he played with a certain edge when it was the Steelers. I don't know why that is. Mathis never played in the AFC Central when the Jaguars and Steelers were a division matchup. Maybe he fed off of the fans who had nearly a decade of bitterness left over from before the 2002 realignment.
❤️ you, Rashean. pic.twitter.com/7Ip5amVWHE— Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake) April 13, 2016
No matter what it was, Rashean's dominance of the Steelers was what stands out to me. His walk off interception return for a touchdown against Tommy Maddox (in Pittsburgh!) in 2005 was one of the biggest plays of his career. His touchdown in the playoffs on the road during the 2007 playoffs. And a touchdown against the Steelers in Jacksonville in Week 5 of the 2008 season on Sunday night football.
Mathis is the only player in Jaguars history to return three interceptions for a touchdown -- all against the Steelers. His eight interceptions during the 2006 season are a Jaguars single-season record. He'll finish as one of the greats.