Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews was on the Rich Eisen Show recently and besides admitting he is a “Game of Thrones” fanboy, also said he was going to miss quarterback Jay Cutler.
Because of all the sacks, of course.
Matthews treated the now-retired Chicago QB like the Starks at the Red Wedding, accumulating the most sacks of his career against Cutler — 8 1/2. Matthews actually thinks it should be nine sacks. He had to share one with Erik Walden and said he actually petitioned the NFL to change the half-sack to a full Matthews one (he was denied).
“I always enjoyed playing against Jay,” Matthews said in the phone interview. “He rubbed some fans the wrong way, I know some people got on him about his nonchalant attitude, but I always enjoyed playing against him. I’m glad I got a lot of sacks against him — I’ll miss that the most — but hopefully the next in line in Chicago will be as equally willing to help me pad my stats.”
He’s talking to you Ned Stark, er, Mitchell Trubisky.
In 2017, Matthews won’t be attacking Winterfell but will be in a similar role for the Packers, playing both inside and outside linebacker.
“For the most part, that’s what we’re envisioning this year as well. Having time on the left and right outside, getting after the quarterback, playing inside, covering backs out of the backfield,” he said. “I think it’s really worked out not only for my own career but for the Packers as well.”
Things didn’t go all that well for Matthews in 2016, as he was limited to 12 games due to injuries, posting career lows of 24 tackles and five sacks.
“I took a shot last year and was playing with a separated shoulder and getting it shot up week in and week out and just trying to battle through it,” Matthews said, “so hopefully that’s an anomaly.”
In his eight years in Green Bay, Matthews had 390 tackles with 72.5 sacks. Four times he has reached double digits in sacks. The Packers have made the playoffs in seven of those seasons and Matthews has 11 sacks in 15 career postseason games.
“I can’t believe we’re going into year nine and it just seems like yesterday getting drafted and having zero idea what my future has in store for me,” he said. “I understand what is expected, not just my role on this team but also what I’m trying to accomplish as well. I’m excited I know I’m going into year nine and a lot of people have had great careers in less time, but I still feel like I have a lot of ball left in me and I think our team is always on the precipice of being that one team being left at the end of the year. So I think big things are in store for not only myself but the Packers as well.”
Matthews only has a couple of more weeks to relax — and get in a couple of new episodes of “Game of Thrones” — as the Packers report to training camp July 26. Then he’ll just have to settle on playing football, looking like a Wildling on the field (although he’d prefer to be a White Walker in the show) and staring at his custom-made Fathead of Daenerys Targaryen, which he has placed over his bed.