Clay Matthews: Packers "told me there was no room for me"

  • In Sports
  • 2019-08-26 15:11:59Z
  • By ProFootball Talk on NBC Sports

Clay Matthews is from Southern California, went to college at the University of Southern California, and is working for the hometown Rams now. Life is good.

But the veteran linebacker also admitted he wasn't prepared to leave Green Bay, until he was told he wasn't wanted.

Matthews told Mike Silver of NFL Network that he expected to re-sign with the Packers as a free agent, and was prepared to take less money to do so.


"I was kind of taken aback, because I thought I'd always be back there, whether it was at a cheaper price [or not]," Matthews said. "So that was kind of a shock, because [my family] stayed out there and had our third child in the offseason, and I was hanging in town training there and everything. And yeah, that was kind of a surprise to me because I just figured I would be out there a few more years.

"People say, 'You chose to go to L.A.' I didn't choose. They told me there was no room for me."

The 2009 first-rounder admitted he didn't expect the end of his time in Wisconsin.

"We'd had some negotiations throughout the latter part of the [2018] season, talks between my agent and the G.M. [Brian Gutekunst]," Matthews said. "It had been awhile since a - some people say 'older'; I say an accomplished, veteran pass rusher - hit the market, probably not since DeMarcus Ware left Dallas [in 2014]. So we said, 'Alright, we're gonna hit the market and kind of see what the value is.' And then the Packers were on board, going, 'Alright . . . then we'll figure something out.'

"So I always felt like I would probably end up back there; we just needed to figure out what the going rate was. But that wasn't the case."

The Packers immediately spent heavily on free agent outside linebackers Za'Darius Smith and Preston Smith, replacing Matthews quickly in free agency. Then they drafted Rashan Gary in the first round and gave him Matthews' old 52 jersey.

Matthews seems content, however, to land with his hometown team, which is coming off a Super Bowl run.

"I'm so happy to be here," he said. "It just feels like this is where I'm supposed to be."

If not where he thought he was going to be.


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