On the eve of Andy Reid's first big presser of the new season, I'd like to honor a promise to our old friend and frequent poster Blasphemizer, a guy who loves Evan Mathis (Eagles offensive lineman whom I like), by publishing this recent interview with Mathis...
The cool part of the story is---- the interview comes from young Max Strauss, a 17-year-old high school junior who is attaining national status as possibly the future Bob Costas of the "Why Not?" generation...
Evan Mathis, 6-5, 302, now in his 8th year out of Alabama, came to the Eagles from the Bengals system which was known more for its run blocking than pass protection. Mathis was a perfect fit for Howard Mudd's zone blocking technique, which emphasizes athleticism and quickness over sheer size and drive-block capability.
Max Strauss is a high school junior who is turning the sports media world upside down with interviews of sports figures and celebrities which no kid his age should be getting... Think Cameron Crowe of the old Rolling Stone Magazine...
I get to sample a lot of young bloggers' work here at Eagles Eye... I'm always ready to give exciting new talent a proper chance to break into the sports media biz.
But usually what you get is a microwaved remix of yesterday's paper...and rehashed takes of what Mike Florio said on NBC or what Jason La Canfora said on NFLN.
But this kid is different. He goes out and digs for stuff. He breaks through security.
So it is with pleasure I present Max Strauss' interview with Evan Mathis. And this is a tribute also to Blasphemizer, who has adopted Mathis as not only his favorite Eagle but also his avatar...
Evan Mathis played college football at Alabama. He earned First-Team All-SEC Honors in 2004. He entered the 2005 NFL Draft and was drafted by the Panthers in the 3rd round. He played for the Panthers from 2005-2007, then the Dolphins in 2008, and the Bengals from 2008-2010. He most recently started 15 games for the Philadelphia Eagles in 2011.
Strauss : Before we start the interview, what’s your prediction for the BCS Championship Game?
Mathis : Alabama will win, 20-17. Trent Richardson is a beast.
Strauss : How do you connect with your fans?
Mathis : I connect with them mainly through Twitter (@EvanMathis69). Social networking has really changed the game and allowed for a lot of fan and player interaction.
Strauss : When did you start playing football?
Mathis : I didn’t start playing football until I was in the eighth grade.
Strauss : What was your high school football experience like?
Mathis : I didn’t even start on the freshman team. I was a lanky kid, and it took me a while to get it all together physically and mentally. I became a starter in the 11th grade and played much better as a senior.
Strauss : What was the transition like to Alabama?
Mathis : During February of 2000, my senior year in high school, I was finishing up wrestling season and weighed 240. The entire football season before that, I was telling college teams that I weighed 255. I was able to bulk up to 270 before reporting to Alabama. I redshirted my freshman year and used that time to get adjusted to playing college ball.
Strauss : What is your favorite memory from Alabama?
Mathis : Defeating Auburn at their place with a score of 31-7 in 2001. Another was the 10-win season in 2002. It was bittersweet because we were on probation and couldn’t go to the SEC Championship or a Bowl game. We scheduled a game against Hawaii in Hawaii as the last game of the season to make up for any missed bowl game. But, the whole experience at Alabama was great. That school has the best fans in the country and is oozing with tradition.
Strauss : What was your draft day experience like?
Mathis : I had a few friends over to my mom’s house in Birmingham, Alabama. I thought that I would be drafted in the 2nd round. The first day of picks were rounds 1-3 then, and the day got very long waiting for my name to be called. The 2nd round seemed like it took forever and as the 3rd came around, I was really wondering how things were going to play out. Carolina called me and I was the 79th pick of the draft, which was about the middle of the 3rd round.
Strauss : Can you take me through your journey in the NFL…
Mathis : My rookie year was 2005 and I didn’t get much playing time beyond Special Teams, and it was somewhat frustrating as I had much higher expectations. In 2006, I started 15 games at right guard, and played well, and was looking forward to progressing my career from there. The next year, our offensive coordinator and offensive line coach were fired. Their replacements were fond of larger guards and I had always been on the small end at 300 pounds. I ended up buried on the depth chart and was even moved to tackle. I was totally irrelevant for the 2007 season, and I was absolutely miserable. I used the next offseason to bulk up to 320 to try and play the part. It didn’t really matter because I was merely a camp body in 2008. I have yet to figure out why the Panthers never gave me a chance again.
After training camp in 2008, they cut me, I was picked up by the Dolphins before the 2nd game of the season and started sharing time with their right guard. I was released from there during the 10th week of the season and picked up by the Bengals two weeks later.
I didn’t play beyond Special Teams for the rest of that season for yet another meaningless year. I stayed relentless and came into Bengals camp lean and mean in 2009. After a solid camp, I was the backup at all three, interior positions and chomping at the bit to get a chance to play. During the 2nd quarter of the first game, our left guard sprained his MCL and I got my chance. I proceeded to start seven games that year and played lights out. During the seventh start, I suffered a high ankle sprain and ended up missing the next three games. When I returned, I played the second and fourth quarters of the remaining games. I didn’t like splitting time because it was tough to stay warm and get in the zone. The next year, I missed mini-camp and the first week of training camp with a torn calf. When the season started, I was again the backup at the interior three positions. 2010 was a waste as I only saw the field for about 100 snaps.
Staying hungry and relentless, I trained my ass off for almost seven straight months under the guidance of my staff at Zone Athletic Performance in preparation for the 2011 season. I got into camp with the Eagles and earned the starting job before the season opener. Just now, in my seventh year, I feel like my career has started.
Strauss : What was a highlight of the lockout experience?
Mathis : I opened up a training facility in December 2010 in Scottsdale, Arizona called Zone Athletic Performance (www.zoneap.com). I was able to help get the gym started and more importantly, get the best training of my life for almost seven months. I made a huge amount of progress physically and put myself in a great position for training camp.
Strauss : What’s your favorite memory with the Philadelphia Eagles from this past season?
Mathis : Definitely Shady getting the Eagles’ record for touchdowns in a season.
Strauss : How do you describe your style of play? Do you compare it to anyone?
Mathis : I’m aggressive, fast, and I finish. I don’t like to compare my game to anybody else’s. I haven’t seen anyone who, across the board, sets the bar high enough for me to aim. I have great expectations and will continue to do everything I can to achieve them.
Strauss : What’s Coach Andy Reid like?
Mathis : Andy Reid is the most professional and organized coach that I have been around. He is a very smart guy and cares about his players. There’s a reason he’s the longest tenured coach in the NFL.
Strauss : Who has had the most impact on your career?
Mathis : Howard Mudd. I’ve always had the ability and I’ve always had the desire. The one thing that was really missing was the guidance. I can do anything a coach tells me to do, I just need to be told how. Howard is the type of guy who knows exactly what works in this game. He’s really done a great job of helping me improve each week. The longer I spend playing under him, the better I will become.
Strauss : If you could describe yourself as any ice cream flavor, what would you be and why?
Mathis : You’re making me hungry.
Strauss : For someone who wants to play in the NFL, do you have any advice for them?
Mathis : Always believe in yourself, and always work to improve what you need to improve.
Strauss : Thank you so much for your time Evan, I really appreciate it.
Mathis : Thanks, and follow me on Twitter: @EvanMathis69, I’m here to entertain.
->Here are the personal questions that Evan Mathis answered, too.<-
Strauss : If you could meet anyone, who would it be and why?
Mathis : I’d like to meet someone like Ricky Gervais. He’s a funny person.
Strauss : Who was your childhood star?
Mathis : I grew up following Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and Frank Thomas.
Strauss : What is your favorite TV Show?
Mathis : Dexter. Vigilante justice can be awesome.
Strauss : What is your favorite movie of all time?
Mathis : As a child, it was The Neverending Story. I was intrigued by the amount of imagination in the film, and now I’m more into mind-benders like Fight Club & Memento.
Strauss : What is your favorite type of pie?
Mathis : Pre-1992 McDonald’s Apple pies. RIP :(.
Strauss : What would be your last meal on earth? (entree, sides, salads, dessert, drink, all of it)
Mathis : Little Caesar’s crazy bread… Endless bags of it.
Strauss : What is your favorite song?
Mathis : I usually stay true to my childhood tastes. When I was four years old, I really liked Billy Joel’s “Uptown Girl.” And, it’s still a damn good song.
Well, there you have it, a pretty inclusive glimpse into the mind of Evan Mathis...as documented by a 17-year-old journalist.
In the eleventh grade at Mercersburg Academy, Strauss is the founder and owner of ProInterviews.org. The site is his list of over 80 personally conducted interviews with various athletes in the NFL over the last year. The athletes he has interviewed range from Chad Pennington to Michael Vick to his personal favorite, Isaiah Ekejiuba.
The Florida native has set himself up for a huge career advantage at such an early age. He plans to attend a university with a strong football program upon graduation. Whether he understands it or not, Strauss has the next five years to continue to expand his network and essentially pre-create the first building blocks to a very productive career in sports media.
Initially, Strauss would stick to Twitter to acquire his Q & A sessions with whomever he could. Over time, he has been able to develop more effective ways to contact athletes, whether it be through teams, agents, publicists, or PR firms.
“I really am all about asking and showcasing how the player made it to the NFL and the positive perspective they share on the game”, says Strauss when asked about the intent of his interviews. With no interest in any financial gain through his hard work, his raw passion and integrity is commendable.
Hmmmm...seeing the work of this young phenom, I've got to do a better job of things...I've got to put myself into better position to make plays.
Okay, I have a radical plan to get our coaching staff SB ready...rehire McD to be...HC!...Move Mudd to DL coach, JC to Head Novacare Complex Tour Guide, MM to DBs coach, Sex Panther to Ombudsman, Howie Roseman to OC, Wash to GM, and Spags to OL...Oh yeah, and hire Del Rio to be Head Hydration Technician Specialist...
My favorite line from a "Three Stooges" film... the black cook in "A Plumbing We Will Go..."---- when the Stooges have mucked up the plumbing so bad that water comes out of the light fixtures--- "This house has sure gone crazy!!!!"
Hey ATV,....May a swarm of gay chiggers open a disco on your moldy oldie grandfather....nite ladies.
Bri... In case you missed it... When an angry a-hole hurrahs, EVERYONE should listen... Like E.F Hutton, butt better!
@Hudnation Apple Wine Move JC to OC and bring in DelRio as DC... Methinks it doesn't even matter at this point
@atvcar Unless absolutely necessary,..I don't see JC returning to the offense,..except as O-line coach,..and that is pretty remote itself.
@briview My life long dream is to see the iggles win a SB... Sure hope AR's make a wish come true foundation picks me next!
@atvcar C'mon man!!!,...that was JC's life long dream and he had defense in his background. Might it have been a stretch?...Sure,....we'll see maybe this year for validation of stretchitude.
@briview No move AR makes or doesn't make would shock me at this point
@Demappulls! Super bowl!!!!!
I must admit,..realizing the risk of the sport,...the latest concussion of Pronger really disturbs me,..and tells me sumptin'.
I read wiff delite the post and poem of hamhocks,....who I like,.which reminds me of sumptin'. Methinks,.hammer may need to do a serious intervention wiff 3D,..like he did during the bizarre 3D diatribe on our great polski friends. The smaaart and rational personna was secreted from the innards of Hoxie and provided the impetus to get 3D banned,..which was a good thing. Hamhocks,..you have yur assignment,...timing is everything,.....carry on.......GK.
@briview welp,...right now,...it's kiwis and oranges.
THEN,...3d was abusive, combative, insulting,...for sure,....but it was as easy as parcheesi to engage him in a convo, as volatile as that convo may have been.
But now,....now,....he's incomunicado ! Not a peep !
Sure, Hamhox could change dat,....but den HE would be the instigator.
Wrist assured,....my 32-step program hasn't lost a person yet,....and it's not about to now. But like you said,...timing.
@Brozer8 there are openings.,....and yur calming voice,.as you did b4,..can lull him into a false sense of immortality,..and bring out the volatile serpent,..wherest we can cut off the head,..or set fire to the savannah.
The Great MCDMBLDPM is going to be turning the Big XL in a matter of days.
Me no likey.
That's means 1/3 of my life is gonna be over !!!!!
More like 2/3....
That's not what my calculations indicate.
I'm gonna movie to The Far East,...become a Chinese woman, ...eat rice every day,......and live to be 120 years old.
And in 10 years, I will visit Bri and the GK, and Triple GS on boff of their graves.
hmmmm.... XL plus XL plus XL = dead meat... yup, calculations are correct...
Welp,..rumor has it that Spags will take a job that's most appealing to him. Ya think?......Troof is,.. I can't remember the last time i selected a job,..out of a group of jobs,..that wasn't the most appealing to me! Which begs to axe? What's the purpose of that statement? Maybe appealing needs to be defined. Appealing how?...To the pocketbook? career?,..or other factors. The point I'm driving at,..guvna',..is to arrive at the crux of this decision making process,..including some of the other factors involved in the process,..like the family,..which could be of utmost importance. I frankly expected better from you,..despite hearing the drab hurrahs from yur biggest fan,..ATV,...the angriest a-hole on Earf! Prospice.
I just learned that one of the girls that does the late night Cinemax nudey films,....who's recently broken into hard core porn,...was a formere Eagles cheerleader, back around 2001 or so.
There's like a 23 % chance that our pal Hamhox might get banned,....after his latest Hip Hop hyjinx over at the Dump.
Said previously,.Coach Marty's best chance at a HC job,..is to win sumptin' here first. The guy's got some baggage that bosses just are not comfortable with.
They keep saying Winston Moss is the club house leader. I think it ends that way.......but it's good of MMs buddy to put his name back out there for HC position. Perhaps, Grigson out in Indy may do the same too. Btw , Bucs will be better off hiring MM to fix Freeman
Bro))) Dudesman... I'm tellin ya... that moonshine enema is the only way to go. It's kinda tricky though... to get the right amount... and right depth... so if you'd like... we could get together... and I could show you the ins and outs. Word?
I'll bet anyone on her ethat Nuuuuuuuuuudler sold his car... and gave the money to that scripper.
Who's with me?