Jordan Matthews Feels Like a Kid in a Candy Store

Ed Kracz

When it became clear last week that he was going to be returning to the Eagles for a third time, Jordan Matthews began texting some of his new/old teammates, who, at this point, are more close friends than just teammates.

“It’s happening, it’s happening,” he texted good friends like quarterback Carson Wentz and tight end Zach Ertz.

“I was like a kid in the candy store, it felt like getting drafted all over again,” said Matthews on Monday as the team prepared to host the New England Patriots on Sunday (4:25 p.m.) “I was so happy. I picked up my son. We ran around the house like he was Simba. It was a good feeling. My wife knew this is where I want to be, so she was so happy for me.”

Wentz and Matthews have always had good chemistry. Wentz’s first touchdown pass as a rookie was to Matthews. It’s the kind of chemistry that doesn’t go away.

“Obviously we’re always talking throughout the season,” said Matthews, who was a groomsman in Wentz’s wedding. “There’s not much of that process of acclimating. Every other place that I’ve gone it feels like there’s a good two, three weeks, you don’t even know where the bathroom is. But as I was able to come back here, it’s like being back at home (you) see everybody, what’s up, what’s up, back to work.”

Matthews is not back with the Eagles to replace DeSean Jackson, who had surgery last week on a core muscle that had torn away from bone in his abdomen area and was put on Injured Reserve. Nobody can replicate Jackson’s speed and threat to break a play deep down the field.

Matthews, though, can certainly contribute in passing game that has limped inconsistently along for much of the season. He can play outside or in the slot.

“The guy has made a lot of plays for the Eagles over the years,” said offensive coordinator Mike Groh. “He has excellent football intelligence. He knows our system. He has familiarity there. I think there's great comfort with him in the huddle. There's rapport and chemistry with he and Carson, which is important, so certainly nice to get him back.”

Matthews was drafted in the second round by the Eagles in 2014 out of Vanderbilt. He was traded heading into the 2017 Super Bowl season, but returned last year after two games. He was released after the season, but now is back.

“I feel like this is unprecedented,” said Matthews. “I heard of guys going back to the team that drafted him once. Twice? It’s crazy.”

Still just 27, Matthews has been productive throughout his career. He has 22 career touchdowns, 21 of which have come with the Eagles. He averages 12.1 yards per catch and has 3,255 yards in 71 games.

Yet, Matthews hasn’t been able to find a permanent home, outside the first three years he spent in Philly after being drafted.

“I think if you’re playing NFL football until you’re 27 years-old you’re doing something right,” said Eagles receiver coach Carson Walch. “He’s played a long time in this league. There are a lot of guys who don’t play more than two or three years in this league. I would say this guy has had a good career in the NFL at this point.”

Matthews said he still feels young and that his best days are ahead of him.

Of course, he would like those days to be with the Eagles and his friends.

“The camaraderie is unmatched,” said Matthews. “Obviously my relationship with Zach (Ertz), Carson, just those relationships, you can’t just find those everywhere. You can’t manufacture them. You can’t walk into a locker room and say I’m going to expedite this process and get cool with people in a couple months.

“I talk to these guys about stuff that has nothing to do with football. Just being back around family and going to work with these guys. I’d die on a hill for these guys.”