Indianapolis Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis knows if he’s playing Sunday at Buffalo.
But he’s not divulging the plan. Nor is his head coach.
“I wish I had a crystal ball,” coach Chuck Pagano said Monday. “If I had a crystal ball, I would tell you.”
Whatever the Colts have in mind for their all-time sack leader, it’s predictable to not share that information. Why give the Bills any idea of what to expect?
Mathis, 34, has said he would be ready for the season opener. The Colts have preached caution, Pagano often saying, “I have to protect Rob from Rob.” But the coach has also left the door open on that possibility, should Mathis prove he’s healthy from a season-ending left Achilles tendon tear a year ago.
Asked about not being able to reveal the plan, Mathis said, “No, it is what it is. Stay tuned.”
The 13th-year pro smiled, visibly amused by keeping a secret from inquiring minds.
Asked how rewarding it would be to play against the Bills, Mathis didn’t bite again.
“Awesome,” he said.
Then he smiled again, and teased the reporter for trying a different tact.
When another reporter approached and asked the same question and got the same answer, Mathis laughed. Is he really going to keep everyone guessing?
“Sounds about right,” he said, laughing.
Owner Jim Irsay said last week fans can expect to see Mathis on the field for a home game in September — the Colts’ only home game this month is Sept. 21 against the New York Jets on Monday Night Football at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Mathis has been practicing with the team for two weeks. He insists he’s not worried about the Achilles tendon. But there’s something to be said for trusting it.
“I guess the first hit, contact on the practice field, and that was last week, I was real happy about it,” he said.
It’s often said NFL players don’t trust healed body parts until they’re tested in a game.
“I would say so,” Mathis said. “After that first contact of a game, where the bodies are flying and guys are going for your legs and just trying to get you taken care of, and you can fight that off in the first series, you can just settle down and play football again.”
He said he’s been going 100 mph in practices.
“It’s all good in the neighborhood,” Mathis assured.
So like the man said, stay tuned.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.