FOXBORO – Complacency never suited Jordan Matthews. That’s what led him here to Gillette Stadium.
A 2014 second-round pick, Matthews showed a long time ago that he was a capable NFL receiver. Even after an injury-plagued season in Buffalo, the 25-year-old entered this offseason a relatively high demand. After the initial wave of free agent signings, Matthews had interest or visits with the Green Bay Packers, Arizona Cardinals and Tennessee Titans before coming to Foxboro.
While touring Gillette Stadium, the coaching staff didn’t hold back. They explained to him what they liked, but also pointed out areas of his game that could be improved. They didn’t guarantee him automatic playing time. Instead, they told him about the nine other receivers on the roster and the ensuing position battle that’d be coming this spring and summer.
For Matthews, the honestly was appreciated and the situation seemed perfectly imperfect.
“I think probably the biggest reason was I knew this the best opportunity for me to grow as a player,” Matthews said on Thursday. “I had some other teams that contacted me that I visited, but… I’m recently married about to have my first child, and I don’t feel like I’m called to be comfortable. And I knew this would be a great place for me to grow not only as a player but as a man in general.”
The Patriots wide receiver positional battle is shaping up to be fascinating. Matthews joins Julian Edelman, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Cordarrelle Patterson Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Riley McCarron, Cody Hollister and Matthew Slater in the depth chart.The Patriots typically keep five or six receivers depending on how you view Slater, a core special teamer.
Based on Matthews’ background, he’d seem like a likely candidate to stick around. Of course, nothing in Foxboro is guaranteed – especially for a receiver currently on the Patriots 90-man roster. He is already looking forward to the challenge.
“I think it’s the best thing ever. I think it’s the thing that’s really going to breed greatness in all of us,” Matthews said. “At the end of the day, if you don’t have that kind of competition, I feel like that’s the easiest way… but I feel like we have a lot of guys who are not just competitors but they also have had production in the league and are proven… that’s one thing to really be excited about.”
Last year was tough for Matthews. In his first season with the Bills, after three seasons in Philadelphia, the receiver dealt with a myriad of injuries. It was a fracture in his sternum in training camp followed by a fractured thumb in Week 4. Finally, a knee and ankle injury ended his season after just 10 games and 282 receiving yards.
Prior to 2017, Matthews had three-straight seasons of 60-plus catches and 800-plus yards. He says he’s healthy now and when free agency came, he wanted a new challenge. That’s what made Foxboro so inviting.
Matthews has a good idea of what he’s getting himself into. He also knows a few players on the team like Trey Flowers and Deatrich Wise. Matthews also knows Danny Amendola and called him to ask if he could wear No. 80. He’s played against the Pats twice in his career and took part in joint practices with the Eagles a couple years ago.
He knows this offseason will be difficult, but that’s exactly how he wants it.
“I feel like in my life, my foundation of what I believe in and my faith, I believe I’m called not to be comfortable,” Matthews said. “I believe that it’s so easy for us as people to say, what’s the easiest road and what’s the path of least resistance?’ And then we look up at our lives and we’re 80-years-old and we haven’t done anything great.
“So, I guess in my life and myself, I’m not looking for the easiest route to make myself kind of just look great. I want to always do what’s going to make it harder for me to attain any level of success. That way, anything I do I feel like has meaning and then I can kind of pour that out on my family. I can influence my wife, my future children and people around me.”
Published at Thu, 12 Apr 2018 19:41:39 +0000