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INDIANAPOLIS– He wasn’t exactly an afterthought as the 2003 NFL draft unfolded, but neither did anyone envision Robert Mathis becoming what he became.

Not really.

He was that undersized – 6’2″ and 245 pounds after a hearty dinner – and  under-the-radar defensive end out of Alabama A&M. He sent a highlight tape of his college career to the four corners of the NFL landscape to promote himself. It was impossible not to be impressed with the speed, determination and 20 sacks as a senior, an NCAA I-AA record.

“I just wanted to live out my dreams of playing in the NFL,’’ Mathis said Monday. “I could not have imagined it was going to turn out the way it did.

“I’m so severely blessed and humbled.’’

From Who’s he? to the latest member of the Colts’ Ring of Honor.

“Just an honor, man,’’ said Mathis.

His name will be added to the elite list Nov. 22 when the Colts entertain the Green Bay Packers at Lucas Oil Stadium, and it comes a year after his disruptive teammate/friend – Dwight Freeney – was inducted.

Mathis’ selection was one of those wait-your-turn situations, and a no-doubter.

The 2003 fifth-round pick – No. 138 overall – represents the Colts’ most successful late-round pick. Over 14 seasons, he set the team record with 123 sacks and the NFL record with 47 sack-forced fumbles. His career stat line also included 604 tackles, 18 passes defensed, 52 forced fumbles and 17 fumble recoveries, three of which he returned for touchdowns.

Mathis led the NFL with a team-record 19.5 sacks in 2013, was a six-time Pro Bowl selection and integral part of the team’s 2006 world championship. His sack total ranks 17th in NFL history.

Throughout his career, Mathis drew motivation from being perceived as that undersized guy who never got the attention he deserved. He was committed to outworking everyone, and proving everyone wrong.

It was mentioned he’s a perfect example of someone succeeding because he believed strong enough and long enough in himself.

“That’s actually pretty good,’’ Mathis said with a laugh. “I’m going to have to use that, strong enough and long enough. It’s just to have that conviction that I have a dream and I’m not going to let anybody deter me from it.

“The Colts were the only team that wanted me to play my natural position, which was defensive end, so I’m just very grateful they allowed me to live out my career in one place.’’

Mathis’ staying power was impressive. He appeared in 192 regular-season games, tied for eighth-most in franchise history. More to the point: only John Unitas (17 seasons) spent more time with the Colts than Mathis. Peyton  Manning, Reggie Wayne and Adam Vinatieri match Mathis’ 14-year career.

Mathis retired after the 2016 seasons, and essentially was able to go out on his own terms.

“I can always say I never got fired, I quit,’’ he said. “That’s why I’m so indebted to this organization. They allowed me to go out on my own terms.’’

Mathis is the 17th Ring of Honor inductee and the latest figure from the Colts’ decade of the 2000s to be inducted, following Freeney (2019), Reggie Wayne (2018), Peyton Manning (2017), Bill Polian (2016), Jeff Saturday (2015), Edgerrin James (2012), Marvin Harrison (2011) and Tony Dungy (2010).

“To be able to play and be one of the front-line guys with Jeff Saturday, not to mention my quarterback Bash Brother, Dwight,’’ Mathis said. “Edgerrin James, Marvin Harrison, all these guys I played with. I sat at the same table with these guys.

“It’s still kind of surreal. I’m four years removed from the game and I’m still in awe of the guys I played with.’’

Harrison, James, Polian and Dungy have been enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Manning will join them as a member of the Class of 2021. Freeney and Mathis soon will be up for consideration.

“It would be awesome to go in as a duo,’’ Mathis said. “Nobody’s done what we’ve done.’’

Until that time, he’ll savor the highest honor given to a Colt.

“It kind of seals the deal,’’ Mathis said. “I’m just humbled. I’m thankful for Jim Irsay to give me the opportunity, Bill Polian, Tony Dungy and all the way down to the greatest d-line coach of all-time, John Teerlinck.’’

You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51