INDIANAPOLIS — For his part, Mathis -- who signed a new long-term contract with Indianapolis last offseason -- would like to see his pass rushing buddy back with the team next season.
“[Freeney has] been here 11 years. We’ve been playing together 10 years so that speaks for itself. It’s almost like we formed a brotherhood. It’s deeper than just a teammate. We call it ‘9398 Bring the Heat Boulevard.’ We kind of coined that term so we want to keep it going as long as we can. Came in pretty much together and in a perfect world, we’d go out together," he said.
Wayne also re-upped with the Colts after the 2011 season. Bethea, meanwhile, signed his new deal with the team at the conclusion of the 2010 campaign.
Both Mathis and Wayne were named as starters for the AFC squad in the 2013 Pro Bowl, which is set for Jan. 27 in Honolulu.
“It’s very fun [going to the Pro Bowl as teammates] because we’ve kind of been through the fire together, came up the same way," Mathis said. "I’m very happy for him and I know he’s very happy for me as well. Hard work paying off and it’s just a good place to be in.”
Bethea continues to be impressed by Wayne, who he has faced off against in practice since joining the team in 2006.
"Just the way he works every day. No days off and if he does take a day off, you know it’s something serious. Week in and week out getting double-teamed, triple-teamed, still making plays, incredible catches," he said.
"I know the bones and the joints are probably aching right now. He’s been here since Eric Dickerson’s been here [laughing]. It’s fun to see him go out there and make plays."
He shares the same type of admiration for Mathis, who made the tough transition from hand-on-the-ground defensive end to being a stand-up outside linebacker this past offseason.