Casey Matthews comes from one of the NFL’s deepest bloodlines. Casey is the younger brother of Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews; his father Clay Matthews Jr. was a linebacker for many years; and he’s kin to the Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews. No pressure Casey.
Andy Reid watched the Eagles get victimized by the versatile talents of Clay Matthews during the regular season and playoffs last season. Casey’s brother Clay knocked out Kevin Kolb in week one, and made life difficult for Michael Vick all day during Green Bay’s Wild Card weekend triumph over Philly. It might be fair to say that Clay Matthews and the Packers defense gave life to Michael Vick’s career last season before knocking it down to size once again in the playoffs after a too-good-to-be-true start for Vick’s first return to meaningful competition. Philly has a Matthews of their own now thanks to the faith and confidence Juan Castillo has put in the former Oregon Duck defender.
Casey Matthews joined ESPN Radio with Scott Van Pelt and Ryen Russillo to discuss his schedule and mindset since being drafted by the Eagles, feeling like he hasn’t really joined the league because of the NFL lockout, his feelings on where he might fit in the Eagles defense, what role his brother has had in his NFL career and how he sees that relationship evolving now that he’s in the league, and the transition from leaving Oregon and moving to the East Coast to play for Philadelphia.
What has gone on since you have been drafted?
“Just back home working out. That’s really all you can do. Right after I got drafted we weren’t allowed to be in contact with the team, so if they called you and told you they were taking you and after that it was just…they couldn’t talk to you. I’m just back home working out with my brother and making sure we stay in shape, so if the lockout is lifted we’ll be ready to go.”
Would it be fair to say you haven’t been drafted with the way the lockout has been going? Does it feel like you’re an Eagle?
“It’s hard because I haven’t been out there. I haven’t gotten to spend time with any of my teammates, learn the system, stuff like that. Obviously we’re behind schedule a little bit, but I’m still happy for the situation I’m in and the organization that I am going to, but at the same time I don’t know too much about Philadelphia and I would like to get acclimated to the city.”
The Eagles do need linebackers. What is the sense of how you might fit in there?
“Coach Castillo, his new defense, definitely puts linebackers in position to make plays. Just play downhill and they need some impacting linebackers and I think they have three or four linebackers coming back from contract and once the lockout is lifted we’ll find out about some other guys, but again I’m happy given the situation I’m in and looking forward to getting out there.”
How much does having a brother in the NFL who has been successful help you?
“It definitely helps out a lot just seeing what he’s been through. Obviously he’s had some success. Anything he does I want to do that, so I’m working out with him this off-season. Then again we are our own players, two different types of people.”
How difficult is the transition from leaving a popular college town to having a job on the East Coast? Is there any thought that it would be difficult moving to the East Coast?
“It definitely is going to be difficult. On draft day the Oregon spring game was on and I was watching it. You don’t realize how much you miss it until you’re gone. Now I try to reflect back on my time there. It’s definitely sad. Again a new chapter to start. It was definitely a great time up there and I’m looking forward to seeing how they do this year.”