Before veteran offensive guard Evan Mathis signed a five-year, $25.5 million contract in March that included a $5 million signing bonus to remain with the Philadelphia Eagles, he visited the Baltimore Ravens.
The former Alabama standout met with general manager Ozzie Newsome and coach John Harbaugh as they made their best recruiting pitch to try to convince him to sign with Baltimore and replace Pro Bowl offensive guard Ben Grubbs.
After thinking it over seriously, Mathis stayed with the Eagles and will square off with the Ravens on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
"I have a lot of respect for Evan," Harbaugh said Monday. "Obviously, we made a run at him. He chose to stay there, a lot of guys do. I just have a lot of respect for him as a player."
We caught up with Mathis, a major Twitter enthusiast @EvanMathis69, via email for the following interview:
Sun: What was your visit like to Baltimore with coach John Harbaugh and how tough of a decision was it choosing between the Ravens and the Eagles?
Mathis: "I had an opportunity to see the infrastructure of a very good organization. I have a tremendous amount of respect for John Harbaugh and what he does. When it came down to making the decision, I ultimately knew exactly what we had in Philly and that was something I wanted to be a part of moving forward."
Sun: Will it be a little different for you playing against them or do you think it will feel like just any other game?
Mathis: "I don't let things off the field impact my focus and preparation for what happens onthe field."
Sun: Ravens guard Bobbie Williams is a former teammate of yours from the Cincinnati Bengals. What stands out about Bobbie as a player and a person?
Mathis: "Bobbie is a great person and an incredible football player. His body of work during his career has been nothing short of admirable. He is the ideal teammate."
Sun: What do you expect out of this matchup with the Ravens' defense as far as their front seven like Haloti Ngata, Ma'ake Kemoeatu, Terrence Cody and Ray Lewis?
Mathis: "The Ravens have a tremendous amount of talent up front. Ngata is one of the best defensive tackles I've played against. We are looking forward to matching up with a very good defensive team."
Sun: What's it like blocking for Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy as far as them being unpredictable on what direction they may choose to run?
Mathis: It's not much different than blocking for anyone else as long as we focus on playing through the whistle."
Sun: What does your training regimen involve and what kind of contrast is there now between the way you used to train and diet for football?
"I did it all at a facility I opened in Scottsdale, AZ called Zone Athletic Performance. My trainers there, Garrett & Adam, deserve the credit for giving me a training and diet roadmap that has helped me make great physical progress."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun