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Clay Matthews III

Clay Matthews III

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William Clay Matthews III (born May 14, 1986) is an American football
American football
American football is a sport played between two teams of eleven with the objective of scoring points by advancing the ball into the opposing team's end zone. Known in the United States simply as football, it may also be referred to informally as gridiron football. The ball can be advanced by...

 linebacker
Linebacker
A linebacker is a position in American football that was invented by football coach Fielding H. Yost of the University of Michigan. Linebackers are members of the defensive team, and line up approximately three to five yards behind the line of scrimmage, behind the defensive linemen...

 for the Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

 of the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

. He was drafted by the Packers 26th overall in the 2009 NFL Draft
2009 NFL Draft
The 2009 NFL Draft was the seventy-fourth annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. The draft took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 25 and 26, 2009. The draft consisted of two rounds on the first day starting at 4:00...

. He played college football
College football
College football refers to American football played by teams of student athletes fielded by American universities, colleges, and military academies, or Canadian football played by teams of student athletes fielded by Canadian universities...

 at the University of Southern California.

Early years


Matthews was born in the Los Angeles
Los Ángeles
Los Ángeles is the capital of the province of Biobío, in the commune of the same name, in Region VIII , in the center-south of Chile. It is located between the Laja and Biobío rivers. The population is 123,445 inhabitants...

 district of Northridge to parents Clay and Leslie Matthews. He attended Agoura High School
Agoura High School
Agoura High School is a public high school in Agoura Hills, California, United States. It is the largest high school in the Las Virgenes Unified School District...

 in Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills, California
Agoura Hills is a city in Los Angeles County, California, and has the ZIP code 91301. The population was 20,330 at the 2010 census, down from 20,537 at the 2000 census. It is located in the eastern Conejo Valley between the Simi Hills and the Santa Monica Mountains. This city on the Ventura...

. Physically, Matthews was a late bloomer
Late bloomer
A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual. The term is used metaphorically to describe a child or adolescent who develops more slowly than others in their age group, but eventually catches up and in some cases overtakes their peers, or...

. His father was the team's defensive coordinator
Defensive coordinator
A defensive coordinator typically refers to a coach on a gridiron football team who is in charge of the defense. Generally, along with his offensive counterpart, he represents the second level of command structure after the head coach...

, but declined to start his son because he was physically undersized. Matthews began developing physically in his senior season, but only garnered interest from Division I FCS schools and local community colleges. He has described his own recruiting status out of high school as "not applicable." Like his father and uncle, Matthews opted to attend the University of Southern California
University of Southern California
The University of Southern California is a private, not-for-profit, nonsectarian, research university located in Los Angeles, California, United States. USC was founded in 1880, making it California's oldest private research university...

 with hopes of becoming a walk-on for the Trojans football team.

College career



Matthews played for the USC Trojans football team (2005-2008 seasons; 2004 redshirt) under head coach
Head coach
A head coach, senior coach or manager is a professional at training and developing athletes. They typically hold a more public profile and are paid more than other coaches...

 Pete Carroll
Pete Carroll
Peter Clay Carroll is the head coach and executive Vice-President of the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League. He is a former head coach of the New York Jets, New England Patriots and the University of Southern California Trojans football team.-Early life:Carroll attended Redwood High...

 and Linebacker Coach Ken Norton, Jr. Matthews entered USC as an unheralded, walk-on student athlete
Student athlete
A student athlete is a term used to describe a participant in an organized competitive sport sponsored by the educational institution in which he or she is enrolled, a term primarily used in the United States. It is used to describe the direct balance of a full-time student and a full-time athlete...

. During his first season, USC's 2004 National Championship season
2004 USC Trojans football team
The 2004 USC Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California in the 2004-2005 NCAA Division I-A college football season. Although now vacated for breaking NCAA rules, the team won the 2004 BCS National Championship by winning the 2005 Orange Bowl, that year's BCS National...

, he played only on the scout team
Scout team
In sports, the scout team, also referred to as a practice team, taxi squad, practice squad or practice roster, is a group of players on a team whose task is to emulate future opponents for the featured players. Frequently used in American or Canadian Football, these teams consist of less...

 and turned down several playing opportunities during garbage time
Garbage time
Garbage time, also known as "junk time", is a term used to refer to the period at the end of a timed sporting event that has become a blowout when the outcome of the game has already been decided, and the coaches of one or both teams will decide to replace their best players with substitutes...

 during the fourth quarters of games in order to preserve his redshirt
Redshirt (college sports)
Redshirt is a term used in American college athletics that refers to a delay or suspension of an athlete's participation in order to lengthen his or her period of eligibility...

 status and remaining seasons of NCAA eligibility. He remained a non-athletic scholarship (a "walk on"), reserve linebacker during the 2005 season
2005 USC Trojans football team
The 2005 USC Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California in the college football season of 2005–2006, winning the Pacific-10 Conference , and playing for the NCAA Division I-A national championship...

, and played mainly on special teams. He was granted full athletic scholarship
Athletic scholarship
An athletic scholarship is a form of scholarship to attend a college or university awarded to an individual based predominantly on his or her ability to play in a sport...

 status at the beginning of the 2006 season
2006 USC Trojans football team
The 2006 USC Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California in college football season of 2006-2007, winning the Pacific-10 Conference and playing in the Rose Bowl...

. Matthews continued to play reserve linebacker in the 2006 and 2007
2007 USC Trojans football team
The 2007 University of Southern California Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California during the college football season of 2007–2008, winning a share of the Pacific-10 Conference Championship and winning the 2008 Rose Bowl...

 seasons, and made two starts in 2007 in place of injured teammate Brian Cushing
Brian Cushing
-Houston Texans:Cushing was drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.He scored his first career points on October 4, 2009 when he recorded a safety against the Oakland Raiders. The safety was the first recorded by a Texan since the 2002 season.Cushing was...

. He was awarded USC's Co-Special Teams Player of the Year in 2006 and 2007 and blocked two field goals in the latter season.

During the off-season, Matthews committed to weight training and conditioning programs to gain size and improve his performance level and stamina. At the beginning of the 2008 season
2008 USC Trojans football team
The 2008 University of Southern California Trojans football team represented the University of Southern California during the college football season of 2008–2009...

, defensive coordinator Nick Holt
Nick Holt
-External links:* - Nick Holt - Assistant Head Coach & Defensive Coordinator - 2009-* - Nick Holt - Defensive Coordinator - 2006-08* - "Holt bolts for Rams," - 07-Feb-2006* "In Holt he trusts." - 19-Aug-2006...

, Carroll and Norton decided to try using Matthews in a hybrid "Elephant" position, where Matthews would stand in the position of defensive end
Defensive end
Defensive end is the name of a defensive position in the sport of American and Canadian football.This position has designated the players at each end of the defensive line, but changes in formations have substantially changed how the position is played over the years...

, but use the speed and tactics of a linebacker; the coaches had used Cushing in the position in a similar manner in 2006. The experiment was successful, as Matthews recorded 4.5 sacks while playing alongside his other NFL-bound teammates Brian Cushing
Brian Cushing
-Houston Texans:Cushing was drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans.He scored his first career points on October 4, 2009 when he recorded a safety against the Oakland Raiders. The safety was the first recorded by a Texan since the 2002 season.Cushing was...

, Rey Maualuga
Rey Maualuga
Rey Maualuga is an American football linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Bengals in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft...

 and Kaluka Maiava
Kaluka Maiava
-Personal:Maiava's stepfather, Scott Mahoney, attended and played football for Kamehameha Schools and the University of Colorado as an offensive lineman. His mother, Kathryn, works for an airline, which allowed the family the ability to take free trips to the mainland during Maiava's high school...

. Furthermore, Matthews continued his spectacular special teams play 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. Matthews was a participant in the 2009 Senior Bowl
Senior Bowl
The Senior Bowl is a post-season college football exhibition game played in Mobile, Alabama which showcases the best NFL Draft prospects of those collegiate players who have completed their eligibility. First played in 1950 in Jacksonville, Florida, the game moved to Mobile's Ladd Peebles Stadium...

 and was considered a top prospect for the 2009 NFL Draft
2009 NFL Draft
The 2009 NFL Draft was the seventy-fourth annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. The draft took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 25 and 26, 2009. The draft consisted of two rounds on the first day starting at 4:00...



Matthews was one of twelve senior USC football players, including the four linebackers Cushing, Maiava, Matthews and Maualuga, attending the by-invitation-only 2009 NFL Scouting Combine.
Matthews, alongside fellow USC linebackers Maualuga and Cushing, was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated
Sports Illustrated is an American sports media company owned by media conglomerate Time Warner. Its self titled magazine has over 3.5 million subscribers and is read by 23 million adults each week, including over 18 million men. It was the first magazine with circulation over one million to win the...

s 2009 NFL Draft Preview magazine, as all three were regarded as potential first round selections.

Pre-draft measureables



Green Bay Packers



Matthews was drafted in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft
2009 NFL Draft
The 2009 NFL Draft was the seventy-fourth annual meeting of National Football League franchises to select newly eligible football players. The draft took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City on April 25 and 26, 2009. The draft consisted of two rounds on the first day starting at 4:00...

, with the 26th overall pick (Acquired from a trade with the New England Patriots
New England Patriots
The New England Patriots, commonly called the "Pats", are a professional football team based in the Greater Boston area, playing their home games in the town of Foxborough, Massachusetts at Gillette Stadium. The team is part of the East Division of the American Football Conference in the National...

), by the Green Bay Packers
Green Bay Packers
The Green Bay Packers are an American football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The Packers are the current NFL champions...

.

He scored his first career touchdown during a Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football
Monday Night Football is a live broadcast of the National Football League on ESPN. From to it aired on ABC. Monday Night Football was, along with Hallmark Hall of Fame, and the Walt Disney anthology television series, one of the longest running prime time commercial network television series...

 game against the Minnesota Vikings
Minnesota Vikings
The Minnesota Vikings are a professional American football team based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings joined the National Football League as an expansion team in 1960...

; Matthews stripped the ball from running back Adrian Peterson and ran the ball back for a score.

In week 17 against the Detroit Lions
Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League , and play their home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit.Originally based in Portsmouth, Ohio and...

, he made 3 tackles, assisted on 2 more and sacked Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Culpepper
Daunte Rachard Culpepper is an American football quarterback who is currently a free agent. He last played for the Sacramento Mountain Lions of the United Football League . Prior to joining the UFL, Culpepper enjoyed a successful National Football League career after being drafted 11th overall in...

 twice. He was nominated for and won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week
Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week
Every week during the NFL season, five finalists are chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award, and a winner is determined by fan voting online at . At the end of the season, total fan voting from the year is tabulated to determine the five finalists for the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the...

 award for his performance.

In week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

, Clay had another outstanding game: recording 1 tackle, recovering 2 fumbles forced by cornerback Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson
Charles C. Woodson is an American football cornerback for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League . He played college football at the University of Michigan for the Michigan Wolverines. In 1997, Woodson led the Wolverines to a national championship...

, and sacked Dallas quarterback Tony Romo
Tony Romo
Antonio Ramiro "Tony" Romo is a professional American football quarterback in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys. Romo's career passer rating - at 95.8 - ranks third-best all time. Tony Romo didn't play in the regular season in 2003, 2004, or 2005...

 to make him a nominee again for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week
Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week
Every week during the NFL season, five finalists are chosen for the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week award, and a winner is determined by fan voting online at . At the end of the season, total fan voting from the year is tabulated to determine the five finalists for the Diet Pepsi NFL Rookie of the...

. For the 2nd time in as many nominations was voted Rookie of the Week for week 10.

Matthews had arguably his best game in his young career in week 13 when he was awarded the NFC Defensive Player of the Week award. Matthews had six tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble in the Packers' 27-14 win over Baltimore.

In the Packers December 13, 2009 contest vs the Chicago Bears
Chicago Bears
The Chicago Bears are a professional American football team based in Chicago, Illinois. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 at Soldier Field
Soldier Field
Soldier Field is located on Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois, United States, in the Near South Side. It is home to the NFL's Chicago Bears...

, Matthews recorded his eighth sack of the season which put him into a three way tie with former Packers Tim Harris and Vonnie Holiday for the team record of most sacks in a rookie season (1982–Present). The following week Matthews recorded two more sacks vs the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team currently belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Founded in , the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC...

 to claim the rookie record.

He was added to the 2009 NFC Pro Bowl squad, replacing Bears LB Lance Briggs. He is the first Packers rookie to earn a Pro Bowl selection since receiver James Lofton in 1978.

On November 7, 2010, in a Sunday Night Football
NBC Sunday Night Football
NBC Sunday Night Football is a weekly television broadcast of Sunday evening National Football League games on NBC that began airing on Sunday, August 6, 2006 with the pre-season opening Hall of Fame Game. Al Michaels serves as the play-by-play announcer, with Cris Collinsworth as the color...

 game against the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys
The Dallas Cowboys are a professional American football franchise which plays in the Eastern Division of the National Football Conference of the National Football League . They are headquartered in Valley Ranch in Irving, Texas, a suburb of Dallas...

, Cowboys quarterback Jon Kitna
Jon Kitna
Jon K. Kitna is an American football quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys of the National Football League. He was signed by the Seattle Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 1996...

 threw a pass, which was batted by Packers linebacker A. J. Hawk
A. J. Hawk
-Green Bay Packers:On April 29, 2006 Hawk was drafted in the 1st round of the 2006 NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers. He was the 5th overall pick of the draft. He signed a 6-year contract with the Packers, worth $37.5 million, on July 28, 2006...

 into the hands of Matthews. Matthews then returned the interception 62 yards for a touchdown. This was his first career interception, and his second career touchdown.

Matthews was awarded with the NFL's defensive player of the month award for September 2010 after getting 6 sacks in the first two weeks of the 2010 season.

After recording 13.5 sacks through 15 games in 2010, Matthews was named to the 2011 Pro Bowl
2011 Pro Bowl
The 2011 AFC–NFC Pro Bowl was the NFL's all-star game for the 2010 season. It took place at 7:00 p.m. EST on Sunday, January 30, 2011 at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii...

 NFC roster, his second consecutive selection in two years of play. He finished a close second (17 votes to 15) to Troy Polamalu
Troy Polamalu
Troy Aumua Polamalu is an American football strong safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted in the first round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He played college football at the University of Southern California.-High school:Troy Polamalu graduated...

 in the NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting, notable in that both led their defenses to Super Bowl XLV
Super Bowl XLV
Super Bowl XLV was an American football game between the American Football Conference champion Pittsburgh Steelers and the National Football Conference champion Green Bay Packers to decide the National Football League champion for the 2010 season. The game was held at Cowboys Stadium in...

. In that game won by the Packers over the Pittsburgh Steelers
Pittsburgh Steelers
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a professional football team based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The team currently belongs to the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Founded in , the Steelers are the oldest franchise in the AFC...

, he had 3 tackles, including a forced fumble. In the first play of the 4th quarter with the Steelers driving to take the lead with the score 21-17 in favor of Green Bay and the ball on the Packer 33 yard line, he tackled Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall
Rashard Mendenhall
Rashard Jamal Mendenhall is an American football running back for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Steelers 23rd overall in the 2008 NFL Draft. He played college football at Illinois....

, who fumbled the ball, recovered by inside linebacker Desmond Bishop
Desmond Bishop
Desmond Lamont Bishop is an American football linebacker for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. He played college football at California....

. The Packers never lost the lead, winning their 4th Super Bowl
Super Bowl
The Super Bowl is the championship game of the National Football League , the highest level of professional American football in the United States, culminating a season that begins in the late summer of the previous calendar year. The Super Bowl uses Roman numerals to identify each game, rather...

 title and first since Super Bowl XXXI
Super Bowl XXXI
Super Bowl XXXI was an American football game played on January 26, 1997, at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana to decide the National Football League champion following the 1996 regular season. The National Football Conference champion Green Bay Packers defeated the American...

 (1996 season) .

Regular season statistics

Year Team G TTkl Solo Ast Sacks Int Yds Avg Lg TD Pass Def FF FR Yds TD
2010 Green Bay Packers 15 60 54 5 13.5 1 62 62 62 1 4 2 0 0 1
2009 Green Bay Packers 16 51 37 14 10 0 0 0 0 0 7 1 3 46 0
Total 31 111 91 20 23.5 1 62 62 62 1 11 3 3 46 1

Personal


Matthews comes from a football family. Matthews' father, Clay Matthews, Jr., played the third most games in NFL history (278) over 19 seasons as a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns
Cleveland Browns
The Cleveland Browns are a professional football team based in Cleveland, Ohio. They are currently members of the North Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League...

 and Atlanta Falcons
Atlanta Falcons
The Atlanta Falcons are a professional American football team based in Atlanta, Georgia. They are a member of the South Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

 while earning 4 Pro Bowl selections. Matthews' uncle, Bruce Matthews, played as an offensive lineman for 19 years in the National Football League
National Football League
The National Football League is the highest level of professional American football in the United States, and is considered the top professional American football league in the world. It was formed by eleven teams in 1920 as the American Professional Football Association, with the league changing...

 for the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are a professional American football team based in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Previously known as the Houston Oilers, the team began play in 1960 as a charter...

 franchise after being drafted out of USC in 1983. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame
Pro Football Hall of Fame
The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame of professional football in the United States with an emphasis on the National Football League . It opened in Canton, Ohio, on September 7, 1963, with 17 charter inductees...

 in 2007 and considered one of the greatest offensive linemen in NFL history, playing in an NFL-record 14 consecutive Pro Bowls. Both brothers were All-Americans. His grandfather, Clay Matthews, Sr.
Clay Matthews, Sr.
William Clay Matthews, Sr. is a former American football Offensive tackle for four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers of the NFL. His career was interrupted by the Korean War, and Matthews became a paratrooper for the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division...

, played 4 seasons in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco 49ers
The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in San Francisco, California, playing in the West Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League . The team was founded in 1946 as a charter member of the All-America Football Conference and...

 in the 1950s. Of the four sons of Clay Matthews, Jr., he is the second to play for USC. His younger brother Casey Matthews
Casey Matthews
Casey Christopher Matthews is an American football linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League . He was drafted by the Eagles in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. He played college football at Oregon....

 plays linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles are a professional American football team based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are members of the East Division of the National Football Conference in the National Football League...

, following a prosperous collegiate run with the University of Oregon
University of Oregon
-Colleges and schools:The University of Oregon is organized into eight schools and colleges—six professional schools and colleges, an Arts and Sciences College and an Honors College.- School of Architecture and Allied Arts :...

 Ducks
Oregon Ducks football
The Oregon Ducks football program is the intercollegiate American football team for the University of Oregon located in the U.S. state of Oregon. The team competes at the NCAA Division I level in the Football Bowl Subdivision and is a member of the Pacific-12 Conference. Known as the Ducks, the...

. He also has cousins involved in football: Kevin
Kevin Matthews (American football)
Kevin James Matthews is an American football center for the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League. He was signed by the Titans as an undrafted free agent in 2010...

 is a center
Center (American football)
Center is a position in American football and Canadian football . The center is the innermost lineman of the offensive line on a football team's offense...

 for the Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans
The Tennessee Titans are a professional American football team based in Nashville, Tennessee, United States. They are members of the South Division of the American Football Conference in the National Football League . Previously known as the Houston Oilers, the team began play in 1960 as a charter...

, Jake is an offensive tackle for Texas A&M
Texas A&M Aggies football
The Texas A&M Aggies football team represents Texas A&M University in college football. The Aggies have competed in the Big 12 Conference since the conference's inception in 1996. They will join the Southeastern Conference in July 2012. Texas A&M football has earned one national title and 18...

, and Mike is an offensive linemen committed to play football for Texas A&M for the class of 2012. Every Friday during the football season Clay talks football on Wisconsin's Afternoon News with John Mercure on Newsradio 620 WTMJ.

External links