Clay Matthews III
This is an article from the Sept. 19, 2011 issue
The Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion helped stop New Orleans's Mark Ingram at the one-yard line with no time left in Green Bay's 42--34 Week 1 win.
DAN PATRICK:What size are your shoulder pads? Did you borrow them from a high school player?
CLAY MATTHEWS: They're prepubescent, probably middle school. The whole key is that way no one can grab me. No one can touch me. If you leave stuff out there for those offensive linemen to grab, they're going to hold you all day. So I like everything tight and small. It helps me maneuver around the edge.
DP:Do they make your arms look bigger?
CM: Yeah, but they also accentuate my gut a little bit too. You really have to keep your core in check. And that starts failing toward the end of the season when I put on my winter weight.
DP:Do you have a beer belly?
CM: No, I don't think so. It's still early in the year. I can still pull off my hourglass frame. Wait until later in the year—I'll look like a block.
DP:What's the club scene like in Green Bay?
CM: There's bottle service with Coors Light. Bottle service of Natty [Natural Light]. You have a choice.
DP:Could Michael Vick beat you in a 40?
CM: Vick could beat me in a 40. But the field is 53 yards wide. You have to take angles. If we're wearing pads, I might be able to beat him.
DP:What other quarterbacks have speed?
CM: I think Aaron's going to get on me if I don't say him.
DP:Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers can beat you in a race?
CM: I'm just going to say that to make him feel good.
DP:What happened to Rodgers's mustache?
CM: He's trying to get his playboy image back and show everyone he's California cool.
DP:Do you think Ndamukong Suh is a dirty player?
CM: I don't think he's a dirty player. I actually like the way he plays. It's a spark for their team. Unfortunately they're turning [the Lions] around, and he's definitely the linchpin of that defense. Guys feed off him.
DP:What's the difference between Suh and your teammate defensive tackle B.J. Raji?
CM: They're two very different players. B.J.'s a tremendous athlete in his own right. He's definitely stepping up his game in the pass rush. He really believes in himself, especially after the success he had in the latter part of last season.
DP:Do you rub it in with former USC teammates that you won a Super Bowl?
CM: I try to stay humble. The diamonds look nice on my finger though. That speaks for itself.
DP:Would you cut your hair if I could guarantee you a trip back to the Super Bowl?
CM: Can you guarantee the win?
DP:I'll get you back there, but you have to play the game.
CM: You're familiar with the story of Samson. You can get me to the Super Bowl. However, if I don't have my hair there, I can't create plays that would help us win the Super Bowl. I'm just going to try to get there the old-fashioned way—hard work.
The Ravens' Ricky Williams was one of the last big-name free agents to find a team this off-season. But the 34-year-old running back called his 63-yard rushing performance against the Steelers on Sunday a career highlight because of the camaraderie in Baltimore. "I haven't had that much fun playing football since college," Williams told me... . Michigan coach Brady Hoke focuses on defense and doesn't get too involved in offensive details. I asked Hoke what play the Wolverines called on Notre Dame's 16-yard line with eight seconds left, trailing by a field goal. "Denard, don't scramble for eight seconds, unless we get into the end zone," Hoke said. Robinson hit Roy Roundtree for the game-winning TD... . The NFL Network's Michael Irvin called out experts who said Carolina's Cam Newton, who threw for 422 yards on Sunday, wasn't ready for the pros. Irvin said it's O.K. to be wrong, but take responsibility. The Hall of Famer reminded me that he argued Houston was crazy to draft Mario Williams over Reggie Bush in 2006.