Mathis feeling good about knee, role

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It’s easy to be skeptical about positive injury news in May.

But I am buying the enthusiasm about Rashean Mathis here.

The veteran cornerback who tore the ACL in his left knee on Nov. 13 spoke with reporters on Tuesday.

He said he’s running, cutting and jumping while eagerly looking forward to a June 4 appointment with Dr. James Andrews.

“It’s responding great, I haven’t had any setbacks,” Mathis said. “I’ve never had an ACL injury before, but the guys around me who have had it say that I am way ahead of schedule. They’re surprised what I am doing at this time.”

If that doctor's appointment goes as well as he expects, he believes he’ll be able to participate, at least to some degree, in the team’s June 12-14 minicamp.

“To me, that would be remarkable,” coach Mike Mularkey said after an OTA session Tuesday at the team’s headquarters at EverBank Field.

“As long as they give him the go-ahead -- and really the player, too, feels good about it, that’s important as well -- I’m sure we would let him go. I’m sure he’d probably be limited, too. Since it’s the last, basically, three days of the offseason going into a five-week stretch. ...

“With the time that’s coming where you can’t do anything with the team, so I think it would be outstanding if he could get some work done with the team. I think it would be good with his teammates when it’s all said and done. We’re still on path for that.”

Mathis is heading into his 10th season with the Jaguars. He’s a consummate professional who won a starting spot as a second-round draft pick out of Bethune-Cookman in 2003.

Now he’s in line to compete with newcomer Aaron Ross, a free-agent addition who was part of two Super Bowl wins with the New York Giants.

“You always compete in this league,” Mathis said. “My mentality besides like a couple years, maybe, you always know that a competition is a possibility. And sometimes it’s been made known, whether or not it’s been made publicly known. ...”

“You approach it like you approach any other thing: Handle what you can handle. Stay healthy is the main thing. If I can, the rest will take care of itself.

As for the guy Mathis will need to hold off ...

“Aaron is a very good player; that’s a great pickup for our team, our defense,” Mathis said. “He’s a very good guy. He knows football. He has football savvy. He comes from the Super Bowl champs; he’s used to winning. I was impressed with him the first day I saw him.”

The winner of Mathis versus Ross will start opposite Derek Cox.

The other guy will be slotted as the nickelback. It should be a quality battle.