National Football League
Seahawks' Chris Matthews makes super name for himself
National Football League

Seahawks' Chris Matthews makes super name for himself

Published Feb. 1, 2015 8:56 p.m. ET

Who is Chris Matthews? You aren't the only one asking who is the Seattle Seahawks breakout star receiver in Sunday's Super Bowl and what is his backstory.

Matthews, a cousin of the late Hall of Famer Reggie White, took about as indirect a route to the Seahawks and the big game as anyone could.

He went to Dorsey High School in Los Angeles but you wouldn't know it from the school's famous alums page.

From there, the 6-foot-5, 218-pounded hoped to go school and play football at UCLA.


Grades scuttled that dream and he wound up at Los Angeles Harbor College, where Brett Peabody took him under his wing.

Grades again got in Matthews' way during his first year. It took until a sophomore season for Matthews to pull it together.

During his sophomore season, he put up staggering numbers. In only nine games, he had 80 receptions (best among all 72 California junior college football programs), 1,235 yards and 11 touchdowns. Peabody said in 2010. He was "probably the best wide receiver in the nation" because of his versatility.

"He's a special player and a great kid. He listened and really matured. When you see him growing and you respect him and his family, it makes it tough, the coach said."

Before his junior year, Matthews transferred to the University of Kentucky, a far cry from downtown Los Angeles. Two seasons at UK didn't translate into earning his way into the NFL Draft. Instead, Matthews headed north — way north — to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.

Matthews had a sensational first season in Canada, earning Outstanding Rookie honors, by accounting for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns.

He was on his way, except the second season provided another pothole. Turf toe cost him all but four games and the only thing he caught at the end of the season was his release.

Matthews, who idolized Jerry Rice while growing up, was now working in a Foot Locker store and as a security guard, until the Seattle Seahawks called in February of 2014.

That led to a contract, but he was released on August 30, only to be signed to the practice squad the next day. There he remained until Dec. 6, when he was added to the active roster.

Still, until Sunday, Matthews had zero catches in his NFL career. That didn't mean he didn't have a critical grab — he recovered the onside kick against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Championship Game that allowed Seattle to score and eventually go on to victory in overtime.

Matthews' mom Natalie once had a towel with Jerry Rice on it. His dad, an LAPD office said it was all his mom could do to keep their son from using the towel.

"His mom would get so upset at him because he tried to use it every single day," Darell Matthews, Chris' father, said in 2010.

On Sunday, Matthews wasn't quite Rice, but he wowed the way the Hall of Famer did.

He made four catches for 109 yards and a touchdown — the first receiving stats of his NFL career.


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