Remember the Time, Jerome Mathis

Patrick D. Starr

It is always good to sit and reminisce of the good times and in Houston Texans history there have been few to hang your hat on. There have been plenty of players who have come through the locker room in Reliant Stadium that have made an impact.

In the 2005 NFL draft the Texans selected wide receiver Jerome Mathis (4th round, pick 114) out of Hampton University. In the NFL combine he recorded the third fastest time in comibine "history" in the 40 yard dash with an eye-opening 4.28 seconds. Mathis could flat run at another speed, which instantly improved his draft stock. He came out of Hampton setting kickoff records in the NCAA, with 6 career returns for touchdowns and career kick return average with 26.6 yards per return, which still stand today.

In 2005, Mathis took his game to Houston and made a huge impact in the special teams game. In 2005 he averaged 28.6 yards (54 chances) a return and returned two kicks for touchdowns with his longest being 99 yards. He also caught five passes for 65 yards and a score in the 2005 season. With his rookie performance Mathis was selected to the 2005 Pro Bowl and was only one of three rookies with that honor, and he also received the 2005 NFL Alumni Special Teams Players of the Year award.. In 54 returns, 45 of them were big yardage returns, Mathis had 38 returns over 20 or more yards and 7 returns of 40 yards or more, which made him a threat every time he touched a kickoff.

With a big 2005 year behind him, Mathis fractured his foot in 2006 and only appeared in two games before being placed on injured reserve. In 2007, he returned for 3 games and had one kick return for a touchdown, and it proved to be his last.

Jerome Mathis is currently playing Arena Football with the Pittsburgh Power, he played in nine games which he caught 30 passes for 418 yards and 7 touchdowns. He also returned 31 kickoffs for 688 yards and 1 touchdown.

A fractured foot derailed Mathis' career with the Texans, but he provided excitement every time he touched the ball. Even though it was for one full season, Mathis, to me, is one of those bright spots in the Texans franchise. With the struggling special teams in Houston right now in 2011, it shows how valuable Mathis was in 2005.