The Indianapolis Colts' hopes of a successful 2014 NFL season were dealt a major blow Monday with news that star pass rusher Robert Mathis is likely to miss the entire campaign.
ProFootballTalk reports that Mathis suffered a torn achilles whilst working out on his own in Atlanta in the run up to the Colts' season opener against Denver Broncos this Sunday.
Mathis absence extended
Mathis would not have been involved on Sunday regardless of his fitness with the six-time Pro Bowler having been suspended for four games by the NFL for violating the PED policy earlier this year.
Mathis has since contested the charge, arguing that the violation came after he had taken a fertility drug prescribed by a family doctor. It was this suspension however that led to the defensive end working out on his own, with the NFL stipulating that Mathis could not train at the Colts facility.
The suspension is almost irrelevant now however with the veteran facing an extended period on the sidelines.
With the Colts defense struggling to cope with an admittedly potent Broncos offense on Sunday night, succumbing to a 31-24 defeat, the absence of Mathis will be acutely felt by the Indianapolis franchise.
Indianapolis may have stayed in the game courtesy of an Andrew Luck led offense but their inability to generate any sort of real pressure on Peyton Manning allowed the reigning league MVP to throw for 269 yards and three touchdowns.
The 33-year-old recorded 19.5 sacks in 2013 and the Colts would have been hoping to have him back in their ranks by Week five.
Now though his future with the organization could be in doubt. Mathis was due to earn $5 million in 2014 - the third year of his $36 million four-year 2012 deal.
There is now a chance however that the Indianapolis Colts could withhold that money. This is because Mathis suffered the injury away from the Colts facility, a fact that gives the Indianapolis franchise the right to place Mathis on the non-football injury list and save themselves a few million dollars in the process.
It remains to be seen what action the Colts take however, and considering Mathis' extensive service to the franchise they will certainly not want to upset the player, or their fan base.