Rams' Clay Matthews says he needs to prove himself to new team, new fans

Rams' Clay Matthews says he needs to prove himself to new team, new fans

Clay Matthews is fitting into his role with the Rams, and the six-time Pro Bowl player isn’t taking it lightly.

Matthews, who grew up just north of Los Angeles, is excited to play in California again after spending four years at USC. But he knows he’ll still have to prove himself to his new team and the fans despite his accomplished resume.

“One of the things you don’t really understand (until it happens) is that when you go to a new team, you have to prove yourself all over again,” Matthews said Monday, via NFL.com. “That’s the spirit of football — the competition.

“So to come out here with a new coaching staff and new players and media and fans, you have to prove yourself.”

The veteran linebacker is entering his 11th season after he spent the past decade with the Packers. He agreed to a two-year deal with Los Angeles, worth as much as $16.75 million as a free agent this offseason.

Matthews’ efficiency decreased last year after recording a career-low 3 1/2 sacks along with 43 total tackles in 16 games for Green Bay.

However, he enters the upcoming season with a new mindset on a team he was looking forward to joining.

“(It) definitely feels like this is the way (my career) should continue,” Matthews said. “When it was known that things weren’t going to work out in Green Bay, I told my agent that one of the teams I wanted to look at was the Rams. Fortunately, we were able to make it happen.”

The Rams seem just as excited to have Matthews as they continue to add to their already strong defensive unit.

Los Angeles is hoping for another successful season after making it all the way to the Super Bowl in Sean McVay’s second year as head coach.

“Anybody that’s played as much as he has and had that amount of success — being in a big-time organization and being a world champion — that’s always someone you can learn from,” McVay said. “He’s a guy that, whether it’s with myself or with his teammates, he’s come in and he’s worked the right way.”

McVay has already started to keep an eye on Matthews’ playing time as he sat out of practice to start the week. Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Aqib Talib, Eric Weddle and Andrew Whitworth also rested in an effort to bank energy for a long playoff run. 

“When you see these guys (at practice) that have worked and produced at such a high level, you see why they’ve been able to do it,” McVay said. “That’s the same with Clay. He’s done a great job so far and we’re counting on big things from Clay Matthews.”