Head coach Bill O’Brien had selected the 6-3, 300-pound nose tackle to field a punt to get a much-needed afternoon off from practice. Although he couldn’t recall ever catching a punt in practice, Mathews felt confident he “wasn’t going to miss."
“They said if I punt it and he catches it, we’re out of here early,” Lechler said. “I wasn’t going to hit him with anything difficult. I’d wanted him to not move at all but he did a pretty good job.”
Following five-consecutive days of two-a-day practices, O’Brien felt the players earned a break with their effort through the first ten days of training camp. The players still attended their Tuesday afternoon meetings, but the afternoon walk-through practice was cancelled with Mathews' catch.
O’Brien didn’t make it easy on Mathews though.
Players have Wednesday off and will resume practice on Thursday. The team departs for Arizona the following day for their first preseason game against the Cardinals on Saturday, August 9 at 7:30 pm.