Lions cornerback Reshean Mathis earns high praise from Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III for his lack of gullibility. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Allen Park — This isn’t Rashean Mathis’ first rodeo. The Lions cornerback has been plying his craft in the NFL for 10 seasons. There aren’t many tricks he hasn’t seen.
So it wasn’t a surprise to hear that Mathis didn’t take the bait from Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III in Week 3.
Griffin told ESPN.com that he will occasionally try to draw a penalty from pursuing defensive players when he’s running toward the sideline. He said he will try to time it so he takes the hit just as he’s about to step out of bounds.
The tactic didn’t work on Mathis. Mathis, Griffin said, told him that stuff wasn’t going to work.
“He’s a smart player; he didn’t hit me,” Griffin told ESPN. “I kind of stopped well inside in bounds to try to get him to hit me and he didn’t. He said, ‘I’m not taking that penalty, Griff.’ I said, ‘I got you, man.’”
Mathis chuckled when the story was relayed to him Thursday.
“It’s just decision-making,” he said. “You’ve got to be able to think in certain situations in the heat of the battle. He slowed down and I almost bumped into him. Could I have hit him — of course. Would it be smart — no.
“In today’s game, you have be careful of that. You have to be mindful. That’s what makes the good players a little better than most. You have to be thinking, ‘Is this going to help my team or is it going to hurt my team?’ ”