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Jaguars' Mathis ahead of schedule in recovery from knee injury

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Rashean Mathis said last week that he probably won't be completely recovered from a torn anterior cruciate ligament by the beginning of the free-agency period in March. 

But he isn't ready to retire or leave the Jaguars.

"I'm not ready to let go of my guys yet -- the locker room, the camaraderie we have," Mathis told the team's official website. "That is still a part of me. There will be a day where I wash my hands of it and say, 'The Lord has allowed me to do great things,' but that's not here.

"My time is not up yet."

Mathis suffered the season-ending injury on Nov. 13 against the Indianapolis Colts. He expects the injury will take nine months to fully heal but said he's ahead of schedule in his recovery.

The Jacksonville native has been with the Jaguars for nine seasons, since he was selected in the second round of the 2003 NFL Draft. In 2006, he made the Pro Bowl after picking off eight passes, a career high.

Mathis said that though he is scheduled to become a free agent on March 13, he wants to remain in Jacksonville despite his current health concerns.

"That's what I want -- and there is hope," he said. "Hopefully, I don't hit free agency. The people who work for me know that and my agency knows that -- and they have always known that. I've never kept that a secret, but I understand the evaluation process that has to go on and the trust process with this injury that has to go on."

Mathis added that he has no interest in clinging to his career if he's not capable of performing.

"If I'm not able to do my job, I don't want to be anywhere," he said. "That's not my character. I don't want to be on the field just to be on the field. If I'm not productive, I don't want to be anywhere. I'm not the guy who says, 'I've got a check.' That's never been my personality."

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