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first_img Top Stories When the Cardinals’ interest in Mathis was first reported, word was the team offered him a two-year contract. The deal he signed, however, is for one year and a reported $6 million.The reason he left a year and money on the table is quite simple.“I didn’t want to commit to two years and at the end of the season end up having to walk away from something that I committed to, if I decided I wasn’t going to be all in again,” he said. “So, this is the type of situation where I know I can. It’s kind of like last year, just lay it all on the line, give it everything I’ve got and go from there.”Things worked out plenty fine for Mathis last year. After being released by the Philadelphia Eagles last July in a move made more because of his clashing with head coach Chip Kelly than anything he did or did not do on the field, he ended up with the Denver Broncos and started 12 of 16 games as well as all three playoff matchups, including Super Bowl 50.Including last season’s run, Mathis has appeared in five career playoff games, and the opportunity to play in more is what helped lead him to Arizona. That, and Adrian Wilson, as the former Cardinal safety and current scout for the team helped recruit the veteran lineman. Comments   Share   TEMPE, Ariz. — Evan Mathis was being honest.Asked Thursday if he was sure he would continue his NFL career after the 2015 season ended, the 34-year-old with 11 NFL seasons already under his belt said he was not sure.“For a while, I was just riding the wave of winning the Super Bowl,” he said as he was being introduced as the newest Arizona Cardinal after signing a one-year contract with the team. “I got to the point where I was OK going either way with it. I told myself that if the right opportunity came about, where it was a contender team that offered me a contract that I thought was worth it, then I would keep playing, because it’s not something I just want to jump into and half ass and just get paid. “I like teaching, especially when it’s guys you’re really working close with,” he said. “I’ve always hung my hat on being a student of the game and working hard off the field. Hopefully, I can come here and share whatever information I can share with these guys and just help them become better players as well.”The better his teammates get, the better the Cardinals will be, and the better the Cardinals are, the more likely they are to reach the Super Bowl.Mathis has already been there and done that, and being able to hoist the Lombardi Trophy and earn a championship ring served to whet his appetite.“It’s like having a real nice meal or something,” he said of winning a Super Bowl. “You want to go have that meal again. You remember what you did to eat that meal and you try to do that same process so you can eat again, you know?“It was a dream come true to do that. It was kind of a surreal experience while it was happening, and then even the few weeks after, it’s kind of hard to soak it in. But, it was such an enjoyable experience, that I’ve got to put that on my to-do list again.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “I’m all in when I play football and the commitment is there if I decide to play. So, I decided to play and now I’m looking forward to the future and really excited about everything.”Mathis found what he was looking for in the Cardinals, and in turn the Cardinals found a player who they are confident will help solidify an offensive line that is undergoing a makeover this offseason.A Pro Bowler in 2013 and 2014, he is expected to slide in at right guard and upgrade a position that has kind of been in flux over the last couple of seasons.“I think he’s a guy that you watch on tape and reminded me of when we looked at Carson Palmer and you got excited about the player, particularly at that age,” Cardinals general manager Steve Keim said. “He’s one of those guys that I don’t know if they put him in wax or what it is, I know that he takes tremendous care of his body, but he is still a guy who’s got great feet, great athleticism, does a nice job pulling and playing on the second level, and he brings a physical mentality to our team, just like Mike Iupati did.“So, to be able to get a guy like Evan, who can create movement in the run game, is extremely physical and aggressive, I think was a huge get for us.” The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Wilson’s endorsement aside, Mathis also praised the coaching staff and talented roster, noting how the Cardinals are a team that “has what it takes” to win a championship.The fact that he lives in Arizona also didn’t hurt, as he does not have to move his family or make his daughter change schools.“We get to stay in our routine and do what we do,” he said. “My family’s really excited about it, and for more reasons than that.”In pretty much every way, Mathis and Arizona made sense.The player found a team in a city he is comfortable with, and the Cardinals landed a player who has long been regarded as one of the best at his position, a veteran who will not only play, but help guide the team’s younger linemen.“That was one of the things that we talked about with having Mathis beside a guy like D.J. (Humphries),” Keim said. “You have a guy who’s young and inexperienced, but then you throw in a 34-year-old guard who’s got a wealth of knowledge, understands the game; one of his best attributes has been his intelligence and his football smarts.”For his part, Mathis — who underwent surgery on his right ankle following the season and said he is a couple weeks away from being able to run but will be full speed shortly — has no problem filling the role of teacher. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impactlast_img

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