LIONS INSIDER

CB Rashean Mathis' football future is uncertain

Posted Jan 17, 2016

Cornerback Rashean Mathis has been given a clean bill of health but says his football future is still in doubt.

Rashean Mathis has been given a clean bill of health but says his football future is still in doubt. Retirement is on the table.

“I’m as healthy as can be,” Mathis said last week. “Whatever decision I make, it won’t be because of health reasons whether I play or not.

"It's all my head, meaning how I want to handle things. Not from a health standpoint, meaning just me mentally. I've given a lot and a lot has been given to me and I feel that I’ve done the best I could with both. And if I walk away, I walk away with my head up. And if I stay, I give it 100 percent again.”

Drafted by Jacksonville in the second round in 2003, Mathis, 36, has played in 175 games, has made 647 tackles and recorded 32 interceptions (four touchdowns), nine forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

The concussion he suffered Week 7 that led to him going on season-ending injured reserve will not factor into his decision.

Since signing with the Lions before the start of the 2013 season, he's been a terrific mentor for young cornerbacks like Darius Slay and Nevin Lawson. He continued his leadership role this season while on IR.

Both Slay and Lawson have said that Mathis has been instrumental in their development both on and off the field early on in their careers.

He has a year remaining on the two-year deal he signed last offseason. New Lions GM Bob Quinn will have to decide at some point this offseason if it’s time to move on and let some of their young corners move into the limelight.

Of course, Mathis could decide that for him if he calls it quits.

There’s another potential option out there for Mathis as well, though it seems somewhat unlikely at this point in his career. Could a position change from cornerback to safety extend his career? It has for a number of other aging players, who might have lost a step from their younger days.

“I always told the guys that if I played safety I’d probably break some interception records,” Mathis said with a smile when asked about a potential switch to safety.

First things first though, Mathis has to decide if his heart is in a 14th NFL season.