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Clay Matthews was a Great Green Bay Packer

Goodbyes are never easy and when it comes to saying goodbye to one of the best players in the history of your franchise, it's always hard.

And that's exactly what the fans of the Green Bay Packers are doing, as Tuesday night, Clay Matthews signed with the Los Angeles Rams, effectively ending his career with the Packers, a career that is quite possibly better than even some realize.

Matthews landed in Green Bay following a trade up into the first round by former general manager Ted Thompson, which allowed him to select Matthews with the 26th overall pick of the 2009 NFL draft.

That turned out to a be historic pick for the Packers, who went on to win the Super Bowl one year later, following the 2010 season, thanks in large part to Matthews.

He was the missing piece to a defense that desperately needed an edge rusher. 

As a rookie, he was an immediate force and finished with 10 sacks as well as 17 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and a touchdown. After getting to the Pro Bowl as a rookie, Matthews earned First-Team All-Pro during his second season, notching 13.5 sacks, 18 TFL, two forced fumbles, an interception and another defensive touchdown.

In each of his first three seasons with Green Bay, Matthews scored a defensive touchdown. He also produced four double-digit sacks seasons in a career that up to this point, features 83.5 sacks over 10 seasons as a Green Bay Packer.

Additionally, he sas 494 tackles for his career, 121 tackles for loss, 189 quarterback hits, six interceptions and 15 forced fumbles.

The biggest forced fumble of his career is also one of the key reasons why the Packers won the Super Bowl championship over the Steelers.

With Pittsburgh driving in the fourth quarter down 21-17, with the chance to take the lead, Matthews checked a call with defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, saying "Spill it Pickett, spill it." 

Well, Pickett spilled it and when Matthews crashed down on Rashard Mendenhall, the ball popped loose. Desmond Bishop recovered for the Packers and a touchdown pass from Aaron Rodgers to Greg Jennings a few minutes later helped Green Bay hang on for a 31-25 victory.

It was Matthews finest hour as a Green Bay Packer and there were many of them.

I wish him the best of luck in Los Angeles. He still has some juice left and it wouldn't shock me to see him play well the next two years. 

Mostly, I just want to say goodbye and thanks to one of my favorite Green Bay Packers and without question, one of the most impactful defenders in franchise history. 

When it comes to sacking the quarterback, no Green Bay Packer player has ever done it more times than Clay Matthews and even though his career with the team didn't end the way anyone wanted (it never does) it won't be long before he is welcomed back as a member of the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame. 

And he will deserve, because he was one of the best. 

__________________________

Chris is a sports journalist from Montana and has been blogging about the Packers since 2011. Chris has been a staff writer for CheeseheadTV since 2017 and looks forward to the day when Aaron Rodgers wins his second Super Bowl. Follow him @thepackersguru

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Fan friendly comments only: off Comments (32) This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.

kevgk's picture

I eagerly await it induction to the Packers Hall of Fame. I'm happy for him and his family, especially that he could live up to the career of his father.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Wouldn't it be nice to see Ted and Clay go in together? I can't think of anything more appropriate and right than for that to happen. So long Clay. Hell of a player when healthy.

Dash

Montana's picture

So I'm curious, Ted and Clay were both valuable in the Packer run for countless years including a SB win. There were six dislikes on Dash's post but no rebuttals. I'm wondering what the six found in Dash's post to be in error?

Montana's picture

Duplicate

BoCallahan's picture

Looking forward to the day he retires as a Packer. Good Luck Clay!

Tom Legener's picture

Good luck Clay, and thanks for the impact. You were a difference maker.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

March 19th Latest Mock Draft

Packers move down 3 spots and get extra 3rd round pick.

15. Green Bay Packers (from WAS)* | T.J. Hockenson | TE | Iowa
This is an ideal situation for the Packers, who filled their big needs on defense via free agency. Here, they move back a few spots, pick up an extra third-rounder, and still land a well-rounded tight end in Hockenson, who will give Aaron Rodgers yet another dynamic target.

#30. Mack Wilson LB

AgrippaLII's picture

If the Packers are only 5 million under the cap like some of the reports are now claiming...I think trading up is more likely.

TXCHEESE's picture

Great player who always played hard. I wish him success and good health in LA. My son will probably still wear that 52 jersey for years to come.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

His hair stylist will miss him the most.

Packerpasty's picture

so will the ladies...jeez they went crazy for him...

Doug Niemczynski's picture

This is exactly what the Packers should do and then if they really need to they can pick a player at #30 or use that 3rd rounder to move up a little bit and Grab a
player that they want/need.

ricky's picture

Anyone else remember the game where Matthews ripped the ball from Adrian Peterson, and returned it for a nice return (don't remember if it was for a TD or not). A great player, and best of luck in LA.

FTS Messamore's picture

I remember reading an article describing the draft room in 2009. John Schneider called the Patriots to trade for the 26th pick in the 2009 draft. Ted Thompson looked over to John and said "Do it."

Man, Schneider sure can pick players. I hope Gutekunst can draft as many gems like him.

albert999's picture

#30 pick?
Jeffery Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
Slightly unconventional pick here, but hear me out: this is a top-10 talent who is available at the back end of the first round (which means you get a fifth-year option on him) and he lands on a team that can be patient with developing him as a premiere player on the interior of the defensive line.
Just a thought

AgrippaLII's picture

What good is the fifth year option if he can't play his first year? I'd love it if they got him at #44.

stockholder's picture

Yea- but who do they take at 30? Value over bench anyway. . Thats the problem.

Montana's picture

BPA.....

Lphill's picture

Clay is not done yet , we may be sorry to see him go , best of luck to a true Packer.

haseo's picture

Consummate pro. Iconic player. Yup.

wildbill's picture

Thanks for the memories Clay and wish you and your family the best going forward

AgrippaLII's picture

I guess you had to know Clay wasn't going to be resigned if you read Gutekunst's comments about resigning him. Still I hoped he would be resigned because he can still play linebacker. I know it's best to let a player go too soon than too late but I was hoping he could finish up his career in Green Bay. I wish him well with the Rams...he'll give them all he's got just like he always did for the Packers.

PatrickGB's picture

I will miss him. He was funny and full of energy. He was kinda cool too. But now I wish that he sucks with his new team. ;-)

Pierre's picture

Seems as though a lot of players leave GB and then play even better for other teams. Thought the Packers would sign him to play two more years at ILB. He’ll be effective on the Rams with their impressive defensive line.

Oppy's picture

Clay Matthews doesn't want to play ILB.
Clay Matthews wants the glory edge rushers get.

Seen a few people here claim he was the consummate "Team first" guy. I don't know where they get that from. CMIII was a very good OLB for a number of years in GB, but he's always been somewhat self-centered and completely douchey... No way he was going to stay in GB to play ILB in my opinion.

Pierre's picture

Seems as though a lot of players leave GB and then play even better for other teams. Thought the Packers would sign him to play two more years at ILB. He’ll be effective on the Rams with their impressive defensive line.

Skip greenBayless's picture

Actually it might seem that way Pierre but honestly I can only think of maybe two people that TT let go that went on to play better and those were Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward. Two players out of hundreds he let go in his time here is not bad in my book. There's others that have played a long time as role players in the league which is a credit to TT but very rarely did TT let a guy go who turned into a super star player that we are screaming with jealousy that he's not here. Some thought Charles Johnson was when he went to MN. Remember that one? When TT puts garbage in his can, it's pretty much garbage. Gutey has already released more players in just this year that are better than Hyde and Hayward that have signed with other teams. Think about that for a second.

Dash

Dragon5's picture

11LP Amani Hooker S Iowa St....better version of Micah Hyde...want him with our 3rd#75

crayzpackfan's picture

Out of his 10 years in GB he was elite for 6-7 years while seeming to slow down quite dramatically the last 3-4 years. It seems that after his name came to surface during that PED scandal his game dropped off shortly thereafter (curious). Regardless, I really enjoyed his time in GB. He brought intense excitement and great play. Wish him well with the Rams and very happy he was a Packer.

Archie's picture

My favorite defensive Packer players of the TT era:

1A - Charles Woodson
1B - Claymaker (so long Mr. Packer!)
2 - Nick Collins
3 - Kenny Clark
4 - Kampman
5 - Mike Daniels
6 - Tramon Williams

Least favorite:

1 - AJ Hawk
2 - HaHa
3 - several who never played much - J Harrel etc.

crayzpackfan's picture

I agree, the hype with Hawk coming out of college he underwhelmed. But he was a solid tackler and was willing to take pay cuts. If he was a late second round pick, we’d all have a different feeling about him. He did suck in coverage though.

Doug Niemczynski's picture

Hawk was good enough to help us win a SuperBowl so that's good enough for me.

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