INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Mathis flashed a hint of his famous competitive fire Wednesday.
Asked if the speculation around his four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing drug policy will make the chip on his shoulder grow this summer, the Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker barely allowed the question to finish before answering in the affirmative.
"Extremely," Mathis said, letting the brevity of his response speak volumes.
The 12-year veteran spent a little more than two minutes speaking with the media at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center, his first public comments since posting his side of the story to Twitter on Friday after the league officially announced his penalty.
Mathis was suspended after testing positive for Clomid last December. The Colts' all-time sacks leader argued he'd used the drug briefly as a fertility treatment and was unaware it was banned by the league, but NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was unsympathetic to the cause.
The league pointed out Mathis had several avenues by which to check whether the drug was on the banned list and chose not to explore them.
Mathis steered clear of the argument Wednesday, instead taking steps to put the entire incident behind him.
"I addressed my teammates, they understand my stance and a lot of fans, great support," he said. "Just try to move past it."
It was a sentiment echoed throughout the locker room.
Defensive end Cory Redding, who has emerged as a leader alongside Mathis over the past three years, said there was no need for his teammate to apologize.
Redding is similarly unconcerned about doubts swirling around Mathis from sources outside the organization. He said the only opinions that matter belong to the players lining up beside the embattled outside linebacker.
And it's clear the Colts are firmly in Mathis' corner.