Mint Musings: Catching up with Evan Mathis – NFL lineman Evan Mathis has had a pretty productive 2016 so far, including a victory in the Super Bowl with the Broncos. Also a noted card collector, he was kind enough to answer some questions about some of his collecting experiences. The following interview was conducted via email.
KS: You’re coming off your Super Bowl victory with the Broncos. First off, congratulations on the victory. Outside of football, you have your training facility, Zone Athletic Performance, to keep you busy. Do you have any big plans for the off-season?
EM: We’ve got a few trips lined up to visit friends and family and one or two vacation trips planned.
KS: As a collector I have to ask, did you keep any souvenirs from the Super Bowl?
EM: I kept my entire uniform: helmet, mouthpiece, jersey, gloves, pants with pads in them, cleats. I asked DeMarcus (Ware) for his cleats from the game. He signed them and gave them to me. We’ll have another nice little souvenir when we get our rings.
KS: You have a Topps Football card featuring you with the Eagles, as well as a few offerings in their digital trading card lines. It’s not always easy for a lineman, especially outside his rookie year, to get a trading card, but are you hoping to see a few more cards of yourself released?
EM: It’s so nerdy to say you want more cards of yourself. Who would do that? I have all my issued cards in PSA 10. The Evan Mathis Master Collection is fairly small.
Editor’s Note: Panini has confirmed that Evan Mathis will have a card in 2016 Score Football.
KS: Is there any type of specific trading card of yourself that you’re hoping gets made?
EM: I’ve never really thought about this until reading this question. I would go with a classy looking card design and do an on-card auto with a picture from the Super Bowl season.
KS: You’re known as an avid card collector. How did you decide to pick it up as a hobby?
EM: It was something I was exposed to at a young age and always enjoyed. I try to evolve at everything I commit to so I’ve really tried hard to increase my knowledge of the hobby over the years. There are so many different things to do within the hobby and I have a blast doing all of them.
KS: What do you prefer to collect?
EM: The foundation of my collection is high grade rookie cards. I prefer those, (as well as) unopened (packs), and uncut sheets.
EM: 1953 Topps Mickey Mantle PSA 10. A friend of mine was looking to acquire a huge set collection and this card was in it. I was able to see the card ungraded and in a binder. It’s by far, my favorite piece in the collection.
KS: What is the one item you most want to add to your collection?
EM: A high grade Michael Jordan 1986 Fleer with autograph.
KS: It seems that more and more athletes are getting into collecting trading cards and even sports memorabilia. Overall, what do you think is the general attitude of professional athletes when it comes to a collector mentality?
EM: It’s hard to attach a general attitude to it. A lot of guys are intrigued when I’m talking to them about the hobby. They enjoy looking at the stuff I get shipped to the facility like grading orders and auction buys.
KS: Have you ever asked another athlete or celebrity for an autograph or piece of memorabilia?
EM: I have autographed game used balls from this past season as well as DeMarcus Ware’s game used Super Bowl cleats.
KS: One thing that seems to be a little bit of a current hot-button issue is the access of fans to athletes for autographs as well as athletes seemingly becoming more reluctant to sign for fans. What is your take on that?
EM: This is really a situation by situation issue. There are some environments where autographs are okay to get and there are others where it’s not polite to ask for autographs. I usually don’t mind signing autographs in public because of the volume isn’t so bad. For higher profile guys I’d imagine the amount of people that ask could get annoying. The paid athlete signings are what make the most sense. I have some nice cards I want to get signed by some retired HOF stars so I’m going to get them done at their public signings.
KS: What do you think is the overall attitude of today’s athlete when it comes to signing autographs?
EM: I think most guys don’t mind it but there are many factors to account for.
KS: What is the strangest item anyone has asked you to sign?
EM: I signed a birdhouse one time.
KS: I’ll get you out of here on this, what is some advice you would give to anyone looking to get an autograph from you or any other athlete?
EM: The most efficient way is to attend a signing the athlete is doing. Next best way is through the mail. I sign everything people send to the facility as long as they include return postage. Some guys get an overwhelming amount of requests so they don’t even bother with it. You want to have a better chance of getting a photo signed? Send it in a FedEx envelope, with return SASE, and include an extra photo for the athlete to keep. FedEx deliveries usually don’t go to our mailboxes, they go to our lockers.
Kelsey’s ability to bring hobby coverage to the mainstream sports fan as the producer of ESPN’s Mint Condition has been a true asset. GTS is happy to feature his thoughts on the hobby in Mint Musings. The opinions expressed are his and do not necessarily reflect those of GTS Distribution.
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