Friday night's preseason game in Jacksonville will mark a homecoming for Detroit Lions cornerback Rashean Mathis.
A Jacksonville native, Mathis attended Englewood High School in the city and played collegiately at Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach before being selected by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2003 draft.
Although he's played with the Lions since 2013, Mathis still lives in Jacksonville and plans to retire there when his playing days are over.
"Home is home,'' Mathis said, per Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union.
Mathis played 10 seasons with the Jaguars, including intercepting two passes in the team's 2007 playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers. The team's current leadership decided not to re-sign him as they set about rebuilding the team.
"It wasn't personal,'' Mathis said. "I expected it.''
The 35-year-old signed with Lions during the summer of 2013 and has continued to be a quality contributor since leaving Jacksonville. Last season, he started all 16 games and had 51 tackles, one interception and one forced fumble.
Entering his 13th season, Mathis is the second-oldest corner in the NFL, behind 36-year-old Terrence Newman of the Minnesota Vikings.
'I'm not surprised (he's still playing) because he takes care of himself really well,'' Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis, a former teammate, said. "He was a consummate pro when he was here.''
(h/t Florida Times-Union)