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November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving is a homecoming for Colts’ Mathis

Indianapolis’ defensive end was born and raised in Atlanta

INDIANAPOLIS — Robert Mathis is going home for Thanksgiving this week.

The Indianapolis Colts’ fifth-year defensive end was born and raised in Atlanta, where he attended McNair High School. Interestingly, tonight’s nationally televised game with the Falcons will be his first-ever visit to the Georgia Dome.

“That’s my home team. I root for us first and then I root for them second,” Mathis conceded earlier this week. “It’s going to be good. I’ve never played at home and I’ve never been in the Georgia Dome. So it’s going to be an experience for me.”

How could a kid growing up in Atlanta, with an obvious fondness for the city’s professional teams, not see a game in one of the city’s biggest sports venues? Easy, according to the soft-spoken defensive lineman who played collegiately at Alabama A&M.;

“I stayed in the city, but I’ve just never been to a football game there. I’ve never to [the Dome,” Mathis said.

“So it’s going to be an enjoyable experience for me,” he explained, joking that the cost of purchasing enough tickets for family and friends might set him back a bit financially.

“I’m looking at a 100 [people]. They’re going to be well-fed and they’re going to be rowdy. They’re going to be cheering at the Dome. I might be playing this game for free what with all the people I know that are going to be there.”

Mathis — who has his own website at

www.robertmathis.com — hopes to give his entourage a lot to cheer about. Chances are that he will. With the loss of three-time Pro Bowl performer Dwight Freeney to a season-ending foot injury, it will be up to the 6-foot-2, 245-pound speed rusher to provide some much needed pressure on Atlanta’s two-headed quarterback tandem of Joey Harrington and Byron Leftwich.

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