The Eagles agreed to a new five year deal with LG Evan Mathis, who enjoyed a breakout season last year with the club. Mathis, who had been a backup/part time starter for most of his career, thrived under the tutelage of legendary offensive line coach Howard Mudd. Mathis said that Mudd's presence played a large part in his decision to return.
"For this year, it was a huge factor," said Mathis. "Coming into camp, with all of the strides that I made last year, I believe I signed on July 31st and was held out of camp a few days because the CBA wasn't finalized yet. I had a late start, and I still made so much progress over the course of the year and I think I had a pretty decent year. There is still so much room for improvement. I know that I can do that and we as an offensive line can do that under Howard Mudd."
Mathis actually took a free agent visit to Baltimore and was asked by reporters how close he was to signing with the Ravens and leaving Philadelphia.
"It was kind of close. I was kind of the hostage in the castle for a couple of days [joking]. It wasn't like I was picking between any bad organizations. It's two organizations that do things the right way and are winning organizations. [Baltimore general manager] Ozzie Newsome has built incredible teams over the years. When it came down to it, it was kind of close but my heart was just here."
Mathis said that in the end, his familiarity with the team and the system here is what swayed him.
"I knew exactly what I had here. I knew the family atmosphere, the talent on the team, the talent on the coaching staff and the front office, and the direction the organization was headed. I knew exactly what was here. I know the history of the Ravens and that they're a good team, but being on the inside here and being able to resurrect my career here really put it over the top for me."