Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NOTEBOOK; Jaguars' Mathis Uncertain to Play against Steelers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

NOTEBOOK; Jaguars' Mathis Uncertain to Play against Steelers

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

The last time the Jaguars played in Pittsburgh, cornerback Rashean Mathis intercepted a Tommy Maddox pass during overtime of a 2005 game and returned it 41 yards for the winning touchdown.

That's when Mathis' career was on an upward curve. Last season, he intercepted eight passes and made the Pro Bowl for the first time, but this season, his progress has stalled, and he's not likely to return to Hawaii.

Mathis, who hasn't made an interception since the Sept. 9 season opener against the Tennessee Titans, is uncertain to play in Sunday's game against the Steelers because he didn't practice Wednesday or Thursday.

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio suggested that Mathis doesn't have as many interceptions this season because teams aren't throwing in his direction.

"I think he's seen less and less action [passes] this year," Del Rio said. "Rashean is a good football player. He'll continue to be a good football player for a long time in Jacksonville."

But when Del Rio was asked to name some Jaguars worthy of Pro Bowl recognition, he didn't mention Mathis.

One problem is that Mathis doesn't appear to be 100 percent healthy. He was listed as questionable before the Nov. 25 game against the Buffalo Bills because of a groin injury, but he played. He rested in the fourth quarter of last Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers and hasn't practiced since.

On Wednesday, Mathis didn't practice because of what was listed as a coaching decision, which is supposed to mean he's not hurt. But on Thursday, he was listed as not practicing because of a groin injury. He was on the field during the media viewing time, but he didn't have his helmet.

Following his policy of the last several weeks, Mathis wasn't in the locker room during the media session Wednesday and Thursday, even though NFL rules call for players to give interviews at least one day per week if they're requested.

PRO BOWL OUTLOOK NOT GOOD FOR TAYLOR

Fred Taylor is finally receiving national recognition.

The Jaguars' veteran running back was recently featured in the New York Times, and this week, he was the subject of the main story in Sports Illustrated, which featured a two-page photo of his 80-yard touchdown run against the Panthers with the headline, "A Run to Remember. …

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