CANTON, Ohio — Former Alabama A&M All-American, Robert Mathis took another step toward Canton on Wednesday, with the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcing them among 26 semifinalists for its modern era Class of 2022.
Mathis was named a semifinalist in his first year eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and the announcement came just four days before his induction into the Colts Ring of Honor. Mathis is one of seven first-year eligible players to be named a semifinalist this year.
Mathis is the Colts' all-time leader in sacks (123) and is the NFL's all-time leader in forced fumbles (52) and strip-sacks (47). A five-time Pro Bowler and 2013 First-Team AP All-Pro, Mathis played his entire career (2003-2016) with the Colts.
"If you wanted to construct the ideal football player in the laboratory it would be Robert Mathis," former Colts general manager Bill Polian said. "His work ethic and his desire to play and his desire to be the best and his consistency was well above ideal. And if you didn't have the pleasure of seeing him play, go watch the tape. You're looking at a rare, rare, rare football player."
During his collegiate football career, Mathis was a four-year starter from 1999-2002 on Alabama A&M's defense, where he emerged as one of the most-prominent pass rushers in Southwestern Athletic Conference history.
In 39 games at Alabama A&M, Mathis recorded 221 tackles while setting a program records with 44 sacks and 20 forced fumbles.
As a senior in 2002, Mathis set a Division I-AA (now Football Championship Subdivision) record with 20 sacks. That season, he also recorded 58 tackles while setting an Alabama A&M record with 32 tackles for loss while forcing 10 fumbles.
Mathis holds six Alabama A&M records: Career sacks (44); single-season sacks (32); single-game sacks (5); career tackles for loss (88.5); single-season tackles for loss (32); single-game tackles for loss (8).
After graduating from Alabama A&M with a bachelor degree in Physical Education, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, where he played 14 seasons while helping the franchise win Super Bowl XLI.