The Falcons' career record holder for receptions, touchdown catches and receiving yards, Terance Mathis these days is a trainer at Elite 1 Performance, a sports training facility with locations in Roswell and Cumming. Mathis, who turns 43 on Monday, counts incoming Georgia Tech quarterback Synjyn Days and Oklahoma wide receiver Cameron Kenney among his clients. Mathis spoke to the AJC this week. Answers were edited for length.
Q: How have you found being a trainer?
A: The experience has been gratifying. The gratification of it is when a kid comes in and he or she, within three weeks, you see the transformation. That's been the gratification of it all and the parent comes back and says my son or daughter has jumped ranks or is starting now. It's been amazing.
Q: I understand [former Georgia and Dallas Cowboys quarterback] Quincy Carter is on staff with you. How is he doing?
A: Quincy's story, he's one of those guys that you can't give up on him. He's a good kid, and I've known Quincy since he was in high school. The thing is that I like Quincy a lot and this gives him a chance to bounce back and be Quincy and not be what everyone expects him to be. ... He's doing fine. He has some ways to go, but he's working hard to just be viable for himself, not for anybody else but for himself.
Q: How is your racing team doing?
A: It's still on life support. I haven't pulled the plug yet. The thing is, we took a big step backwards in what we did in our effort to grow ourselves and get more experience. ... I'm not afraid to say the biggest mistake I made was trying to jump up in the big leagues without the experience, trying to get into [Sprint] Cup when I didn't know how to spell ‘cup.' We're working and getting back to what we want to do. I'm predicting we'll run some late-model at the end of this year, maybe one or two Nationwide races by the end of the year.
Q: Looking back, why didn't the Falcons keep winning after going to the Super Bowl in the 1998 season?
A: I think we didn't keep the core guys around long enough. I know that people want to say you're going to get older and this and that, but, still, that experience, it's priceless. If you think about it, look what the Patriots have done over the years in their Super Bowl runs. They had a mix of veteran guys and a mix of young guys with a lot of experience.
I think that's where we failed. We failed to keep that core staff around of players and bring in good-enough talent where we could continue to be successful.
Q: Who's a wide receiver you like watching?
A: Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson. I think right now, those two guys are my favorite guys to watch.