Speculation that Philadelphia Eagles left guard Evan Mathis was considering holding out of training camp in hopes of a new contract was quickly doused on Thursday when a report emerged stating Mathis would indeed be reporting on time.
Mathis arrived at the team's facility on Friday and found himself surrounded by reporters asking about his contract situation. Mathis admitted he gave the idea of holding out some thought, but ultimately said "it was not something [he] could see [himself] doing."
He went on to say that he used to feel bad for being sick and missing a day of elementary school because he felt he was falling behind. For Mathis, the same feelings applied to his current situation, with the magnitude only increased due to the challenge of being an NFL player.
"I'm not trying to strong-arm the team. I'm not trying to put down a bad situation to get what I want," Mathis explained. "I'm trying to do the right thing. I'm not really worried about it. Hopefully it works out. If not, it doesn't, but I'm still going to be the same football player."
Had Mathis decided to hold out, he would have faced a daily fine of $30,000 for each day missed. Mathis down played the idea that fines factored into his decision.
"The fines had nothing to do with it," Mathis said. "I wasn't scared of the fines. But what I'd be doing to my teammates, the coaches... that's the ultimate reason [I didn't hold out.]"
Mathis stayed consistent with this message even when he was asked about the suspension of Lane Johnson, which he admitted gives him more leverage in a hold out situation. The Eagles would be hard pressed to be missing two starters on their offensive line. Mathis is aware of this advantage but he's not looking to exploit it.
"Yeah, it gave me plenty of leverage," Mathis admitted. "If I was to hold out. But, again, I just would feel wrong for putting my team in that kind of situation.
How Mathis' contract situation plays out still remains to be seen, but for now there's no doubt he's indeed "doing the right thing" and putting the team first.