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Rashean Mathis settling into retirement, down to a 2-handicap

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Rashean Mathis insists not to read too much into his visit to the Detroit Lions last week. Yes, he showed up for the final week of organized team activities and took in a couple of practices from the sidelines. Yes, he sat in some meetings with coaches.

But really, that’s about it for the former Lions cornerback who decided to retire this offseason after 13 years in the NFL.

“Just chillin’ with the guys, chillin’ with the fellas,” Mathis told ESPN. “Just come to check everything out.”

Mathis spent the final three seasons of his career in Detroit after a decade in Jacksonville, Florida playing for his hometown Jaguars. It’s where Mathis kept an offseason home and where he returned after deciding to retire.

The 35-year-old said he was “enjoying looking at it from a different perspective,” but said not to read too much into him showing up. He just wanted to be around some of his friends again. He said “this is not me being bored.”

Besides, he has other interests to keep him occupied.

Mathis long said one of his post-football ambitions was to try and become a professional golfer. He has been fanatical about his game throughout his NFL career and has started to try and shape his game in the first few months of retirement.

He said he is down to a 2-handicap and while that won’t get him on tour soon, it is the lowest handicap he he has ever had. He knew it would be a function of time and shaping his game, something he’s committed to doing.

“It’s just a time commitment,” Mathis said. “One thing I’ve learned about that is these guys put in six to eight hours a day, every day, shaping their game. It’s not just going out and playing and getting better like that. They really take time in, six to eight-hour days of shaping their game or keeping their game really fine-tuned.”

Mathis spent March and April doing that and saw the beginnings of the necessary improvement. He pulled back a little bit recently to do things like visiting the Lions for a week, but he’s about to start up again soon as he re-dedicates himself to honing his stroke.

And he’s getting used to it, because as much as he trained and got himself in shape for football, reaching that level of golf will take time.

“Not shocking, but it was more of a commitment than I thought,” Mathis said. “Meaning, you can’t take two or three weeks off not doing it and expect it to be the same. So that’s the difference.”