GREEN BAY, Wisconsin – Clay Matthews always thought he would play his entire career with the Green Bay Packers. Even when he left after 10 years to play a season with the Los Angeles Rams, he thought there was a chance of ending his career where it began.
But Matthews, the Packers’ eternal leader, says he’s now at peace with his entire career.
Matthews said after the 2018 season, the Packers told him he was still on their plans, even though his production had waned. However, when they signed pass rushers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith to free agency, he knew it was over. Shortly after, he said he received a call from Packer’s general manager Brian Gutekunst telling him they were moving on.
“I would have loved to have finished my career there,” Matthews said Monday during a promotional tour for Tide laundry detergent. “Based on my discussions after that 2018 season, I thought we were moving forward. But yeah, the way it happened kind of surprised me. Ultimately, that’s what it is. I had fun my year in LA It was a blast going home and playing with some incredible players.”
After his one season with the Rams (2019), he was not finished with football. He rebounded from 3.5 sacks in his final season with the Packers with 8.0 sacks in 13 games with the Rams. After sitting out COVID-19 2020, he saw an opportunity to return to Green Bay as his positional coach with the Rams, Joe Barry, had just been hired as the Packers’ defensive coordinator.
“He reached out to me,” Matthews said. “He knew I could still play and I think he knew if he had me he could find a way to use me within the scheme. But nothing ever manifested, so I think ultimately there might have been powers over that didn’t want that to happen. But yes, there was a brief glimmer of hope to come back. That didn’t happen, but it’s all good. But I’m fine with my career.”
Matthews, the 2009 Packers first-round pick and a key member of the 2010 Super Bowl team, said it was no coincidence that he wore a Packers jersey in the Tide ad, in which he’s trying to convince people that there’s no point in not washing a jersey having anything to do with whether a team wins or loses.
“Everyone knows me from my time in Green Bay,” said Matthews, who had 83.5 of his 91.5 career sacks with the Packers. “The 10 years I played with the Packers was a lot longer than the one year I played with the Rams.”
https://www.espn.com/nfl/story/_/id/34676863/clay-matthews-says-had-hoped-finish-career-green-bay-packers Clay Matthews says he had hoped to finish his career with the Green Bay Packers