Clay Matthews wasn’t planning to leave the Packers.
The 33-year-old linebacker spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the team before inking a two-year deal with the Rams in March. He discussed the circumstances surrounding his departure from Green Bay during a recent interview with NFL.com.
“I was kind of taken aback because I thought I’d always be back there, whether it was at a cheaper price (or not),” Matthews said. “So that was kind of a shock, because (my family) stayed out there and had our third child in the offseason, and I was hanging in town training there and everything. And yeah, that was kind of a surprise to me because I just figured I would be out there a few more years. People say, ‘You chose to go to L.A.’ I didn’t choose. They told me there was no room for me.”
Matthews won a Super Bowl, made six Pro Bowls and recorded 83 1/2 sacks during his time with the Packers.
“We’d had some negotiations throughout the latter part of (last) season, talks between my agent and the GM,” Matthews said. “It had been a while since a — some people say ‘older,’ I say an accomplished, veteran pass rusher — hit the market. … So we said, ‘Alright, we’re going to hit the market and kind of see what the value is.’ And then the Packers were on board, going, ‘Alright … then we’ll figure something out.’
“So I always felt like I would probably end up back there. We just needed to figure out what the going rate was. But that wasn’t the case.”
Matthews — who played collegiately at nearby USC and was born in Northridge, California — said he was “so happy” to be playing with the Rams.
“I’ve always taken pride in the fact that I can do it all, whether it’s covering backs out of the backfield, running vertically with the slot or playing inside ‘backer,” Matthews said. “I mean, I’ll be out in the field — rushing the passer, playing the run, playing in coverage. And playing alongside great players is only going to help out.”
The Rams have one preseason game remaining before they face the Panthers in Carolina in Week 1 action Sept. 8.