Please pardon the baseball analogy for one moment, but when new Milwaukee Brewers manager Ron Roenicke was hired, general manager Doug Melvin mentioned one thing that stood out to him during the interview process.
To paraphrase, Roenicke said something to the effect of "I'm not experienced, but I've experienced a lot," which piqued the interest of Melvin.
The same might be said for Green Bay Packers outside linebacker Clay Matthews, the sensational pass rusher who's being viewed as a leader of the defense even though it's only his sophomore season in the NFL.
"Despite being a second-year player, I know I'm regarded as much more than that," said Matthews in his Monday press conference. "As far as you know, it's not how many years I've played, it's how I contributed on the football field within the huddle and the locker room."
One area in which he's ahead of the curve over most of his teammates – even those who are several times his elder – is that he's been through all of the hoopla and attention surrounding a team competing for a national championship.
Matthews was part of the 2005 USC Trojans team that lost to Texas in the Rose Bowl in what was then considered the national title game. He also redshirted during the 2004 season season in which the Trojans won the national title in 2004 at the Orange Bowl, though he didn't play.
So when Matthews heads to Dallas next week and encounters the media frenzy that will accompany the Packers' trip to the Super Bowl, he already knows what to expect.
His advice to teammates?
"It's not to get distracted by it," said Matthews. "It's all of those, I guess, distractions really with so much time off and there’s so much build up, so many events to partake in, and media days and what not. It's just staying focused on the overall picture. I think everybody is here.
"You obviously wouldn't be in this situation, being an All-Pro if you weren't ready for such rigors. But we've made it three games on the road. We've been playing for five weeks now with a win or go home mentality. So it's just one more on the 2010 season."
Nick Collins, a sixth-year player and three-time Pro Bowler, is amazed by what Matthews has been able to accomplish.
"Phenomenal," said Collins. "He's a beast. The guy just has a motor that just never stops. He just wants to be the best at his position. I'm just, like I said before, for all these young guys, I'm just glad to be a part of it and witness it."
The Matthews bloodline has received a lot of publicity over the years. Clay Matthews I (grandfather), Clay Matthews II (father) and Bruce Matthews (uncle) all played in the NFL ahead of the current member of the Packers. And brother Casey Matthews looks to follow in the footsteps of his family after having completed his senior season for the Oregon Ducks, who lost in this season's BCS National Championship game to Auburn.
In fact, it's becoming a family joke that Clay Matthews II is becoming a bad luck charm when attending such important games.
When asked whether his father would attend the Super Bowl, Clay Matthews III replied, "I don't know if it's a given. He told me he's been to two BCS National Championships, lost them both. Been to a Super Bowl in which my uncle lost. So I think it's up in the air right now, but I think we plan on him coming though."
Clay Matthews III has overcome so many odds already as a college walk-on to reach his sport's ultimate destination, he probably doesn't the additional obstacle of his father's ill fortune standing in the way.
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