Every Tuesday, we’ll sit down with one of the Packers players, coaches or administrators and spend some time getting a small glimpse into their lives away from football. This week, it’s rookie linebacker Clay Matthews, who talks about growing up in a football family, putting together furniture and how much it costs to chuck a football into the stands, as he did the last time the Packers played the Vikings.
I was supposed to be a girl when I was born. So it turned out I was in the hospital for a few days without a name. And my Grandpa (William Clay Matthews Sr.) called and said, ‘Why don’t you just name him after me?’ And my parents said, ‘We can’t do that, he’s the second-youngest.’ But I went home with that tag. And that’s how the second-youngest out of five ends up as Clay III.
My dad and my uncle Bruce are the most humble guys you’ll ever meet, as far as if you give them compliments or say something about me. They’re like, ‘Aw,’ and they just push it off.
I’m driving a Cadillac Escalade right now, but I didn’t buy it, so don’t think I’m out there blowing money. I’m working a car deal, so that’s nice. In college, I had a ’98 Ford F-150 handed down from my brother – dented fenders, broken headlight, just a beat-up, scratched up piece of junk. You can’t really have a good car down there at USC unless you want to, you know, have it potentially broken into. So my car fit the neighborhood.
I really like Entourage. That’s a good show. And Family Guy. At ‘SC, (quarterback Mark) Sanchez was Vinnie Chase. We always got teased about that because he looks like him. The linebackers would always mess around. Everybody said I was always the Turtle or Drama in Rey Maualuga’s entourage. I’d say I’m more the Drama.
My closest friend on the team is probably A.J. Hawk. His family has been real welcoming of me. I’m a single guy in
I’m a big movie guy. I really like critiquing movies and watching any and all that I can. I like to do that. My top two are probably Forrest Gump and The Shawshank Redemption. I just think those are fantastic movies. You can turn them on at any point in the movie and jump right into it. You’re watching the rest, until it’s done. Rudy as well. I really enjoy watching that movie.
In high school, I was a quote-unquote ‘unskilled laborer.’ I moved boxes, cubicles, computers for a company. We’d move people’s stuff from one floor to another. Computers, chairs, all that stuff. My dad played 19 years in the NFL, but hard work is very big with our family. My dad, despite playing in the league for so many years, he’s so down to earth as far as what we need to do to be better as people. And one of those things was getting a job and understanding what hard work is really all about. The NFL, it’s such a glamorized profession, but it still requires a lot of hard work – especially 19 years of it. That really shows the commitment on his part and he passed that on to us.
I was too young to really appreciate football, but I was definitely a Browns and Falcons fan when my dad was playing, and then when I got older and I was able to understand football more, I was more so a Tennessee Titan fan with my uncle finishing out there when I was growing up. But I didn’t really have a team growing up. When my dad retired, I was in my own little world. I guess this is now my team – the Green Bay Packers – or the team my family will have to follow now.
I don’t read much. It’s something I should probably get into. If I read anything, it’s probably the newspaper.
I’m so bad at on-the-spot questions. The questions about playing, that stuff’s easy. When you actually ask me about me, that’s tough.
Away from football, I’m very conservative and keep to myself. I’m a very reserved type of guy. So what you may see on the field – high emotion, running around, playing to the fans – off the field, I’m the opposite of that.
I guess some people didn’t get my sack celebration (against
When I was a kid, I was reserved as far as meeting new people. I’ve never been the loud guy or the guy who’s going to talk a lot, but once I get going I can be real outgoing and the life of the party.
I’m probably the most frugal guy you’ll ever meet. I haven’t really made any big, expensive purchases. I decided to rent my first year and not buy a house. I actually negotiated the price down $300, so that just goes to show you. Furniture, beds, silverware – the basic necessities for living. I have not spent a dollar on clothes, shoes, jewelry, accessories, anything like that.
I actually put all my furniture together myself, rather than going through the store. Furniture’s marked up, what, 100 percent? And then they give you 30 percent off? I went through my own wholesaler. I ordered it all through there, got it half off, and I got it in all the boxes and put it together all myself. I’m very proud of this. I spent about two weeks putting together furniture. My thumbs were raw from turning so many allen wrenches and putting it all together. But you get a sense of accomplishment when you’re able to do stuff by yourself. I enjoyed it. A.J.’s had me come over on numerous occasions to have me set up his printer, help him out with his Internet and his computer. I take pride in that. I’m a hands-on man.
Going to USC and living in
I’m too young to have a bucket list.
I wish I was better at my people skills. I’m reserved, so I never really put myself out there as far as introducing myself or initiating conversations. So some people get the wrong first impression about me, that I may be cocky or I’m full of myself. When it all reality, I’m just happy to be here, and I just do my own thing.
My parents are so great. The way they brought us up is, what I’d like to think is how children should be raised. I’m not saying this is how people should raise their kids – don’t take it like that. I’m just saying that all of us, we all understand hard work, discipline, morals, everything that comes from good parenting.
It’s funny. Out in
I don’t like anyone beating me. I like being the best. I’m not one of those guys who’ll be outdone. I always like to go the extra mile or work that much harder to be the best.
I got to throw the first pitch out with B.J. (Raji) at a Brewers game, that was cool. When I was living and training in
The NCAA, don’t get me started. I think it’s a little bit skewed that you can have your coaches making millions of dollars and driving around in their cars and everything while I’m riding a beat-up bike to school and the ‘student-athletes’ are just trying to get by. Especially schools like ‘SC and Cal, where the cost of living is so high, you barely make ends meet. I know they’re paying for our education. I understand that. But I went to see my brother Casey when
Football’s football, but it’s really a business now. People are getting traded, cut, it’s very hyper-competitive. It brings the best out of most people, but you definitely have to be on top of your game every day. But the perks are so much better than anything else. So you definitely take the good with the bad.
People always tell me I’m a very black-and-white person. I tell it like it is. I don’t try to be rude or anything, but when I talk to people, some people appreciate the brutal honesty, and other people can’t. If you want me to tell you lies, that’s not me. I’m going to give it to you straight up.
The NFL fines you a lot of money when you get fined – such as when you throw the ball in the stands. That costs $5,000. Like we talked about, I’d learn my lesson if you fined me $100. You don’t have to worry about me throwing the ball into the stands again. I got it back, nonetheless. I guess they pressured the fan into throwing it back. It’s got a nice concrete mark from wherever it hit up in the stands. So I’ve got it in the trophy case back home. So I basically paid $5,000 for that ball.