The expectation for Clay Matthews was to always be a member of the Green Bay Packers. Even with him hitting free agency for the first time, the plan was to remain with the Green and Gold.
Matthews told Mike Silver of NFL Network that he was prepared to take less money to stay a Packer.
“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 in his interview with Silver. “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.”
Now a member of the Los Angeles Rams, Matthews stated he didn’t choose to go out west. He wanted to stay in Green Bay.
“People say, ‘You chose to go to L.A.’ I didn’t choose,” Matthews said. “They told me there was no room for me.”
The Packers prepared for life after Matthews, spending big time money in free agency on linebackers Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith. They also drafted pass rusher Rashan Gary in the first round. Gary wears number 52 which is the number Matthews wore during his time with the Packers.
“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 said. “They told me there was no room for me.”
The 33-year old linebacker is happy to be in Los Angeles. He grew up in Southern California and played his college ball at the University of Southern California. But if Packers GM Brian Gutekunst wanted him back in Green Bay, Matthews would be sporting number 52 in the Green and Gold in 2019.