Cardinals scout Adrian Wilson leads new guard Evan Mathis on a tour of the team facility Thursday after Mathis signed his new contract.
Evan Mathis has lived in Arizona for more than a decade, but given that the veteran guard had never played for the Cardinals, he still needed a tour of the facility Thursday morning after officially signing his one-year contract with the team.
The duty fell to scout Adrian Wilson, who just happens to have been a friend of Mathis for just about the same amount of time.
"I've known him since he was a young pup," Wilson said, noting the two have trained together since Mathis was coming out of Alabama in 2005 and Wilson was a four-year NFL veteran.
All these years later, Wilson helped convince Mathis – who is expected to start at right guard -- to join the
"He truly believes in this organization and where it's headed," Mathis said. "He made me a believer in that. But I had already seen what this team had been doing. Seeing someone behind the scenes who had that same mentality, that they are all-in and ready to win, it's exciting."
Mathis acknowledged he considered retirement after starting for the Broncos and winning a Super Bowl.
"I told myself that if the right opportunity came about, where it was a contender team that offered me a contract that I thought was worth it, then I would keep playing," he said. "It's not something I just want to jump into and half ass and just get paid."
Mathis' base salary is right around $1 million (it's actually $1,000,069, a nod to his jersey number),
although incentives are built in. He said taking his career year-by-year is a reason he only wanted to sign a one-year contract.
Mathis played with quarterback Carson Palmer early in his career and said he looked forward to reuniting. He also said he liked the idea of teaching young players, which will happen if D.J. Humphries plays right tackle and could happen if the Cardinals go with youth at center.
"To be able to get a guy like Evan, who can create movement in the run game, is extremely physical and aggressive, I think was a huge get for us," General Manager Steve Keim said.
Mathis said he's already had surgery to repair a problem right ankle he played with through much of the 2015 season. Getting it done early in the offseason means he should be fine for offseason work, he added.
There are benefits signing with the team in the area where you live, Mathis admitted. It's a 30-minute drive from his Scottsdale home (Mathis also now owns the gym where he and Wilson work, having started it in 2010).
Mostly, though, Mathis likes the idea of coming to a team that has Super Bowl aspirations. Even now, six weeks removed from winning the title, Mathis acknowledges it fully hasn't hit him – other than the idea that he'd love to do it again.
"It's like having a real nice meal or something," Mathis said. "You want to go have that meal again. You remember what you did to eat that meal and you try to do that same process so you can eat again, you know?
"It was a dream come true to do that. It was kind of a surreal experience while it was happening, and then even the few weeks after, it's kind of hard to soak it in. But, it was such an enjoyable experience, that I've got to put that on my to-do list again."
Images of Pro Bowl guard Evan Mathis, who agreed to terms on a one-year contract with the Cardinals on Wednesday