Matthews: America’s football family
There’s Sr., and Jr., Clay III, Casey, Bruce, Kevin and soon Jake will join them. Who am I talking about? These seven people make up what could, and should, be considered America’s football family. Six of the above have or are playing in the National Football League and the last name on the list will be a top pick by a team in the 2014 NFL Draft. The Matthews family is equaled by no one when it comes to their football pedigree.
It all started when Clay Matthews Sr. was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams but never played for them because of service in the US Army in 1949. He returned to the NFL in 1950 and played five years in the league with the San Francisco 49ers, but his most important contribution to football was fathering his two sons, Clay Matthews Jr. and Bruce Matthews.
Clay Jr. was a first round draft pick by the Cleveland Browns in 1978 and Bruce went to the Houston Oilers in the first round of the 1983 draft. Both played 19 years in the NFL. Bruce is considered one of the best offensive linemen to ever play the game, having been inducted into the Hall-of-Fame in 2007. He is now the offensive line coach for the Tennessee Titans.
Bruce’s son Kevin plays center for the same Titans team he coaches. His other son Jake is considered one of the best offensive lineman prospects for the 2014 NFL draft after choosing to return for his senior year at Texas A&M.
Clay Jr. has two NFL sons himself. Everyone who knows anything about the NFL knows his oldest son Clay III. The third Clay in the family tree, Clay Matthews of the Green Bay Packers, is a top defensive player in the NFL who rushes quarterbacks with a ferocity not seen since Lawrence Taylor. In five years in the league he has won a Defensive Player of The Year Award, a Super Bowl and been named to four pro bowls. His father made four in 19 years. His younger brother Casey is a linebacker for the Philadelphia Eagles.
How does one family find success so often in a league most only dream of playing in? They have a combined 22 pro bowl appearances, with more to come, 14 all-pro selections, and three first round draft picks, with a possible fourth next year.
The Matthews play the game of football with a passion that is unmatched. They treat the sport like a job, which it is. For all the money they have made and all the accolades they have earned, they still show up to the stadium with their lunchboxes ready to go to work like any blue-collared American.
You don’t have to like the player or the team, but to say you don’t respect someone who plays like a Matthew would mean you are not a true fan. Football is a game of passion and no one brings passion to the field like the Matthews.
Gabriel Kashuba is an NFL writer for TPF and can be contacted at GKashuba@ThePenaltyFlagBlog.com.