Philadelphia Eagles News

G Evan Mathis

Opening Comments: "I just want to say that I'm thrilled to be back with this organization. I love the things that (owner) Jeffrey Lurie, (general manager) Howie Roseman, and (head coach) Andy Reid have done here with the team they built and the direction they're headed. I think we're headed toward the big things. I'm excited to be a part of it."

On how close the Ravens came to signing him: "It was kind of close. I was kind of the hostage in the castle for a couple of days (joking). It wasn't like I was picking between any bad organizations. It's two organizations that do things the right way and are winning organizations. (Baltimore general manager) Ozzie Newsome has built incredible teams over the years. When it came down to it, it was kind of close but my heart was just here."

On why he chose to return to Philadelphia: "I knew exactly what I had here. I knew the family atmosphere, the talent on the team, the talent on the coaching staff and the front office, and the direction the organization was headed. I knew exactly what was here. I know the history of the Ravens and that they're a good team, but being on the inside here and being able to resurrect my career here really put it over the top for me."

On whether the previous re-signings of T Todd Herremans, DE Trent Cole and WR DeSean Jackson influenced his decision: "Absolutely. Taking care of our own first, guys that have put in a lot of hard work for us -  I think we have our current offensive line under contract until 2014. That's huge. This offseason has been really different than last year. We're all looking forward to learning from our mistakes last year, capitalizing on the things we did well, and turning 2012 into a special year."

On whether he envisioned coming in and starting 15 games for the Eagles after being cut twice the previous season and signing with the Eagles during training camp: "Yes. I know that no one else could, (except) maybe those who have been close around me in my gym out in Arizona or my family. I knew my goal was to be relentless. I had been on the bottom, having been cut twice in a year and riding the bench for a long time. I just worked every day to get better, and I put in 28 straight days of training during the lockout to get in the best physical shape of my life. With the opportunity to come play under (offensive line coach) Howard Mudd, I jumped at that. I knew his history and I knew he was one of the best offensive line coaches in the history of the game. If he couldn't take my game to the next level, then it wasn't meant for me to succeed in this league."

On how much Mudd coming back factored into his decision: "For this year, it was a huge factor. Coming into camp, with all of the strides that I made last year, I believe I signed on July 31st and was held out of camp a few days because the CBA wasn't finalized yet. I had a late start, and I still made so much progress over the course of the year and I think I had a pretty decent year. There is still so much room for improvement. I know that I can do that and we as an offensive line can do that under Howard Mudd."

On whether this is the best offensive line he has ever played with: "Absolutely. This is absolutely the best offensive line I've ever played with."

On what motivated him to be in the best shape of his life: "I knew how it would translate on the field, and I knew it wouldn't look too bad on the billboard for my gym, either. It was a little cross-promotion thing. I've always been the type of guy where I wanted to be stronger out of everybody and faster than everybody. Not a lot of coaching staffs look at a player being lean as good. They look at a guy who's 320 as being 320, and with myself who is usually sub-300, I had to really impress on the field and on the game tape to show I could play with these guys."  

On what he meant by the mistakes that they made: "When I was referring to mistakes, I was talking about our biggest problem last year was turnovers. Early on, we were gift wrapping games for people. When you turn the ball over more than you take it away, you lose football games. It's one of the most reliable stats in football. Towards the end of the year, we started protecting the ball more and finished the season with a four-game win streak playing with high energy. During this offseason, we just need to keep that energy and keep focusing on protecting the football."

On how having a full offseason program will benefit the offensive line: "I think it's going to benefit us tremendously, especially when you have the wealth of knowledge that Howard has to learn from. Every single day that we're working together is a day that we can take strides forward."

On the free agency process: "I had no idea what to expect going into free agency. When (4:00pm) hit on 13th, I thought, 'Is it time for my phone to ring now?' Nothing was happening so I had no idea what was going on. Howie played it really smart. He was kind of like waiting on E-Bay until the last second so that he didn't bid the price up. The Ravens called and they took me out there. I got to know them really well and got to know their organization. It was a cool process, and I'm really lucky that the Ravens got in it so I could get the contract to a decent level."

On the difference between Mudd's scheme and the schemes he played in before coming here: "Howard's scheme requires more athleticism than those schemes. You say power and zone schemes, but most teams run a variety of everything. I think Howard's stuff utilizes more of everyone in order to get the job done. It's not like we're blocking anybody different, we're blocking the same people. No matter what scheme you're in, you still have to block Justin Smith one-on-one. It's how you do it as far as getting on them quickly, keeping them sideways, pushing them back. There are many ways to do, but Howard seems to have the techniques that work."

On whether he has contacted Mudd: "Yes, I texted him and apologized for him being stuck with me for a few more years."

On whether he has come out to Arizona: "Not yet. I'll see him next week out there."

On whether Roseman made it clear that he wanted Mathis back: "Absolutely. He let me know that they wanted me back and it was pretty much mutual. It wasn't a knock to me and it wasn't a knock to them with me testing the market. Howie and I were both on the same page that it was the best thing for me to do."

On how long it took for Baltimore to contact him: "Whenever the news broke that I flew out there, Ozzie Newsome called me the same day I flew out there. That was the first contact I had with them."

On the entire o-line being signed through 2014: "There is a ton of talent and a ton of athleticism. We can all reach our potential because we have a guy like Howard leading the way."

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