Green Bay Packer player Clay Matthews carries on the family name in the NFL. There is a long history of football in the Matthews family going all the way back to Clay Matthews, Sr who was an offensive tackle for the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950’s. His son Clay Matthew, Jr was a linebacker who played for the Cleveland Browns and the Atlanta Falcons. Clay Jr.’s brother Bruce Matthews was one of the best offensive linemen in NFL history and played for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Oilers/Tennessee Titans franchise from 1983 through 2001. Clay Matthews III is currently a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers and could very well be on his way for NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Clay III also has a younger brother Casey who also aspires to NFL status. Casey currently plays as linebacker for the University of Oregon.
The brothers Clay and Bruce, and Clay III and his brother Kyle all attended University of Southern California. Though Clay III entered USC as a walk-on student athlete he was granted a full athletic scholarship in 2006. He was awarded USC’s Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and was awarded USC’s Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2008, making him the only player in USC history to be awarded three consecutive Special Teams Player of the Year awards
One would think the pressure to perform coming from such famous lineage would daunt some players. Not so with Clay Matthews lll! He fully embraces his football heritage and uses the wisdom of his family members who have traveled the road before him to better his game. In a recent interview with Bob Costas, Clay was asked if his family members critiqued his performance? Clay answered, “All the time, all the time, if you’re in the Matthews family it’s tough growing up. They let you know what your doing right and what your doing wrong so, I wouldn’t have it any other way though. They have been very instrumental where I’m at and why I’m here and get me better….I’m going to keep looking to them for guidance”. Pressure from other players can be a motivational tool as Andrea Kremer from NBC Sports reported that Clay III had this to say, “”Players gave me a lot of grief about being a Matthews but it really pushed me. It became one of many motivational tools. There’s great pressure because of the name but it’s not worse than the pressure I put on myself”.
Clay III and his father share not only the DNA that makes them the athletes they are but they also share the honor of being the only father-son to be named Defensive Player of the Week in the NFL. Another strange twist of fate is that they have/had the same strength and conditioning coach, Dave Redding.
By all accounts the Matthews family appears very close and dedicated to family as well as their beloved game. Clay Matthews III has finally come into his own after much hard work and determination.
There are numerous nicknames out there for Clay today, ‘Claymaker’, ‘The Beast’, ‘Predator’, ‘Fabio’ and now a new one coined by sports artist Andy Goralski,‘Storm Chaser’ Clay’s hard work has paid off, you don’t become a fan favorite with pet names by sitting on the sidelines! Go Pack!