INDIANAPOLIS -- Indianapolis Colts linebacker Robert Mathis is going what he's doing best. He's on the practice field playing with the same kind of energy that allowed him to lead the NFL in sacks (19.5) last season.
But there's something different during this mandatory minicamp for Mathis. He's taking part knowing that he won't play in a real game for more than three months from now during the Week 5 game against Baltimore.
"It is [weird] but got to take it and roll with it," Mathis said.
Mathis was suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season for violating the league's drug policy.
Mathis hasn't let his suspension stop him from participating in the team's offseason workouts. He was a regular at the facility even when workouts were voluntary. Mathis has been getting some reps with the first-team defense at times despite his looming suspension.
"The older you get, the more your body's going to tell you to slow down, but you can't do that," Mathis said. "You've got to play this game the best way you know how and once you stop doing that, it's time to walk away. So I just try to do what I can, while I can."
Mathis' approach is setting an example on how to approach the game with the team's younger players.
"He only knows one speed since he's been playing ball, probably since he's been in Pop Warner," Colts general manager Ryan Grigson said. "He only knows one speed. You're never going to see him throttle it back, no matter what. He always sets such a tone and a precedent out here in how you do things, how you work, how you practice. He's a guy that doesn't miss."