JagNation Press Pass: Rashean Mathis

CB RASHEAN MATHIS - PASSING CAMP - THURSDAY, JUNE 14, 2007

(on if he was shocked by the release of veteran safety Donovin Darius)
"Very much so. It hit home. He's family, one of the guys and the reason why I have had the success I have had. (Someone) I have looked up to as a strong mentor on and off the field. My life on and off the field as a Christian man, he was a great example."

(on if this is a reminder about how much of business the NFL is)
"This was out of the blue for a lot of us. Some people might have seen it coming, but I guess my eyes were shut. I didn't see it coming. This is a business. A lot of business decisions are made every day and every week in this league. A lot of guys get let go that don't think they are going to get let go. We get reminded of the business aspect of it."

(on how it affects the defense)
"Hopefully not much, but its big shoes to fill. He was a great leader on the field. His presence was felt definitely in the running game. You never know. Hopefully the young guys we brought in this year are able to step up and be ready to play. I said something to them at the end of practice today about we put the ball in your hands now. We made you part of our team by making the decision that we made today by getting rid of Donovin. You are going to be the guys that we look to. They have to do what they need to do mentally and physically to be prepared to play at this level of football."

(on Gerald Sensabaugh and Reggie Nelson stepping into safety spots)
"(Gerald) Sensabaugh has proven he can play. We know that he can stop the run and we know he has the quickness to cover the pass. He has paid his dues and we know what to expect out of him. Reggie (Nelson), we drafted him in the first round and now it's time for him to step up. You never know when your number is going to be called. It could have happened in the middle of the season if Double (Donovin Darius) or any other guy could have went down and it could have been another guy in the same situation. Now it's happening at the beginning of the season so at least you have a little heads up."

(on if he talked to Donovin Darius before practice)
"He was wishing us well and we were wishing him well. He's been around. He's in the players' union and he is a player rep. He knows the business aspect of it and how rough it can be. It's nothing like when it hits home. When it hits home it hits hard. You never know what is going through a man's mind. I'm sure his mind is clouded right now. Hopefully the best comes out of this situation."

(on if he has thought about being a player rep in the future)
"Donovin (Darius) is one of the people that brought that to me. I could be a good candidate for it. It could be a role that I partake in for the future."

(on taking a leadership role in the secondary)
"I have taken it anyway especially this year. I have come out and I've known that my role is detrimental to this team. If I play well then our defense plays well along with a lot of guys on this defense. We feel like if we play well then our defense will succeed. I have taken that role on anyway without this happening today. With this happening today, I have to step up even more. Instead of making one or two plays a game maybe it has to be three or four. I am with the challenge and I feel I have prepped myself and we have prepped ourselves as a team to be able to withstand hits and this is a hit."

(on if this reflects from a coaching standpoint that they have seen enough to be comfortable with Gerald Sensabaugh and Reggie Nelson)
"They have seen something. What it is we don't know. To make a move like this then they have to be looking toward the future. The future is now. They had to have seen something in Reggie (Nelson) and a lot of the other young guys to make a move of this caliber."

(on if this further illustrates that coaches and management make the final decisions)
"Not to sugarcoat it, it hit home for me. It was a mental thing I had to get over today and make myself practice as hard as I do every other day. Donovin is loved by me and a lot of other players on this team. It's a business decision and we have to know that. Donovin knows that. If he was in our shoes he would be doing the same thing. It was a business decision and business decisions have to be made in this league and every other league around the sports world. He would tell us to go out and play on because the future is now. They are looking for the future and you can never knock that when a team is looking for the future. They have some young guys that are able to produce so you can never knock that. It's up to the young guys to be willing to step up and take on the challenge. I think our young guys are."

(on how well Josh Gattis and Reggie Nelson have picked up the defense)
"They have picked it up well. It's early so there's a lot more that has to be done. They have picked things up quite well and we know that as a team. That is probably one of the reasons the move has been made because we know we have some guys that are ready to play."

(on what he told the secondary following practice today)
"It's on us. When decisions are made the coaches can only tell you so much. You have been coached all your life. If you don't have it in your heart or your mind to step up and take on the challenge then it's not going to be done. It's within a team, a defense and within the secondary that we have to step up as a secondary unit and lead this team."

(on if he felt they got the message)
"I feel I am the leader of the secondary so hopefully they will listen to me."


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