Robert Mathis, the linebacker for the Indianapolis Colts who was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 NFL season for taking performance-enhancing drugs, is now out for the season after tearing the Achilles tendon while working out on his own in Atlanta, NBC Sports reports. He reportedly tore the Achilles last week. No word was given as to why the injury was just now revealed.
Mathis, a 11-year veteran originally drafted by the Colts from Alabama A&M University, had three games remaining on his suspension for violating the PED policy, which he claimed arose from taking a fertility drug. The NFL in May handed down a four-game suspension to Mathis after it said he tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance Clomid. Mathis admits to using the drug — one employed by some steroid users to normalize testosterone levels and mask steroid use — but he claims he did so to treat infertility issues. Mathis’ wife, Brandi, recently gave birth to a baby girl.
Despite Mathis’ appeal through the NFL Players Association, the league upheld the ban, stating that the Pro Bowl linebacker failed to consult with NFL or team doctors before taking the drug.
The 33-year-old Mathis had 19.5 sacks in 2013, his first without Dwight Freeney, having signed a two-year contract with the San Diego Chargers. The Colts had given him a four-year, $36 million deal prior to the 2012 season, and he’s due to make $5 million this year and $7 million in 2015.
Because the injury happened away from the team facility, the Colts could place Mathis on the non-football injury list and withhold this year’s money, setting the stage to part ways with an aging and banged-up player this offseason.
Mathis was officially placed on the NFL’s suspended list Saturday and was forced to vacate the team’s facility. He can’t practice with teammates nor speak to his coaches during the suspension.
Yahoo! Sports reports the Colts will now have to count on Bjoern Werner, Erik Walden, and others to provide that rush and pick up the slack.
The Colts’ suffered a huge blow, as their pass rush was inconsistent against the Broncos in last night’s 31-24 Broncos victory, and they clearly hoped that Mathis would return from his four-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance to give the defense a boost.
Before Sunday night’s game against the Denver Broncos, Colts linebacker Bjoern Werner told The Associated Press, “The young pass rushers have to step up. It was all Robert, Robert, Robert last year, so we’ll try to help him out a little bit, too, when he comes back.”