Matthews looks to continue family tradition in NFL

COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) Texas A&M offensive tackle Jake Matthews will be the seventh member of his family to play in the NFL if he is drafted as expected in May.

He knows his football lineage doesn’t hurt him, but hopes that his work as a four-year starter for the Aggies is what really wows the scouts.

”It’s always been a little something to think about,” Matthews said of his famous last name. ”It’s a special situation. Now that I finally have my shot I’m just looking forward to going out and proving it doesn’t matter what my name is, what matters is that I can play and I’m capable. And I hope teams get that from me and not just going off my name.”

Matthews, the son of Hall of Fame offensive lineman Bruce Matthews, did position drills at A&M’s pro day on Wednesday. Afterward, he met with officials from the St. Louis Rams, who have the second overall pick in the draft. Matthews and Auburn’s Greg Robinson are considered to be the best offensive tackles available in the draft and most believe the Rams will choose one of them.

Other members of the Matthews family who have played or are currently playing in the NFL are his grandfather Clay Matthews (offensive tackle, San Francisco), uncle Clay Matthews, Jr. (linebacker, Browns, Falcons), cousin Clay Matthews III (linebacker, Green Bay), brother Kevin Matthews (center, Tennessee) and cousin Casey Matthews (linebacker, Philadelphia).

He said growing up in that environment was invaluable to his development as a player.

”It helps a lot,” he said. ”It’s kind of like I’ve been training for this whole process my whole life. It’s really humbling, especially being a part of this family with the tradition of football we have.”

Quarterback Johnny Manziel attended the event, but did not work out. The 2012 Heisman Trophy winner is scheduled to throw for scouts on March 27. Manziel did not speak to reporters on Wednesday, but Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin answered questions about his departing star.

”Obviously I’ve got a different perspective than a lot of different folks from a human standpoint,” Sumlin said when asked if there’s anything people overlook about Manziel. ”That will always be something special.”

Also in attendance was receiver Mike Evans, who also only watched the event after working out at the NFL combine last month. Representatives for all 32 NFL teams were at the event as nine other Aggies went through drills.

Matthews played right tackle for his first three years at Texas A&M before switching to left tackle for his senior year. Sumlin said his versatility is one of his great qualities.

”He’s such a team guy,” Sumlin said. ”So mature, patient. He’s strong. He’s athletic and has been a real leader in this program since the time we arrived. In my opinion, he’s not just a tackle he’s one of the few guys in the country that can play all five.”

Matthews hopes that returning for his senior season and playing another position will help his draft stock.

”Teams can only take seven linemen in the NFL to games so you’ve got to have guys that can swing around and play different positions,” he said. ”So knowing that I can play either tackle, I think that’s something that really helps me out a lot.”