Philadelphia Eagles rookie wide receiver Jordan Matthews didn't have an unusual start to his 30 plus day "vacation" before the team's training camp starts in late July. Matthews, like many rookies, attended the NFL Rookie Symposium held in San Diego. But Matthews isn't planning to relax for too long. Following the end of the Eagles OTAs/minicamp, the rookie receiver detailed his summer plans to the media.
I'm going out to Atlanta for a while to go train. I'm going to try to train around guys like A.J. [Green] and Calvin [Johnson] down with Tom Bender and them. So try and get some tutelage from some of those guys, some legends in the league right now. Then I'll go back and work with my guy Andy McCloy back in Huntsville before I come back. He usually always gets me in good shape, so that's a guy I'm looking forward to getting back and working with too.
Along with Green and Johnson (both whom Matthews mentions on a first name basis), Denver Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas could also be in attendance. It appears those trio of Georgia college football alumni have spent their offseason working out in Atlanta before.
It seems like a great opportunity for a rookie like Matthews to already work with some of the NFL's best receivers and see how they train. Even more so when you consider they all share similar body types as big receivers. Perhaps Matthews could pick up a few tips along the way. That is, if they aren't already things he's learned from his cousin Jerry Rice, arguably the best WR ever and a surefire member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Matthews already comes with the advantage of having an incredible work ethic. Check out this testimonial from the aforementioned Andy McCloy, who has been training Matthews since 8th grade.
Every kid wants to make it to the NFL. However what keeps most from attaining this dream isn’t a lack of talent…It’s often a lack of work ethic and an understanding that you are entitled to NOTHING. "Jmatt" defines work ethic. This kid has an engine. It’s unreal. Sure he has the size, but make no mistake he developed his abilities year in and year out by dedicating himself in all aspects of the training process. This kid is allergic to "going through the motions". If I could bottle up and sell his work ethic I’d be a billionaire! I believe this is what has allowed him to overcome all obstacles.
So If you want some insight into what it takes to make it to the NFL sit back and let me tell you a story…
It’s over 100 degrees outside. Its summer time in Alabama. I was at this time the S&C Coach for Madison Academy High (MA) School. It was conditioning test day for the Football team at MA! The same test we used for years at MA and it is known for separating the boys from men. The test was 32x55yd sprints broken into 4 quarters with timed rest periods and time standards based on position. Jordan Mathews, Vanderbilt’s record setting SEC receiver, and current Philadelphia Eagle was just a Sophomore at Vandy at this time.
In the locker room Jordan and I are joking around and doing what we do while watching the kids pile out of the locker room and head towards the field. I jokingly ask, " Wanna show these guys how it’s done" ? He looks at me and asks "You got some cleats?" I laugh and say "You sure about this" ? He looks at me, with the same look he had on his face when he walked across the stage on draft night which to me says "doubt me now, I’ll show you later". Then he says, "You already know". Immediately we go on a hunt for some cleats and locate a pair that fits him. The rest is MA history and a story I will tell for years to come to hammer home what it takes to be great and achieve your goals. You have to be willing to do more, push harder, prepare better than everyone else.
The athletes are warmed up, broken into position groups. Jordan lines up with the skill players. Whistle blows, Jordan drives 15 yds and then he opens up that 6’3 stride that he’s used to out run DBs and secondary’s in the SEC. He then proceeds to win EVERY SINGLE sprint like he was trying to make the team!! All 32! Clocking ridiculous times and motivating the rest of his teammates while he was at it. Never showing any fatigue! I can still hear him yelling "Lets Gooooo" when I revisit this in my mind.
Jordan is a special kid. I’ve been telling everyone since he was a sophomore in HS. He’s not a "Me guy" but he’s always been "THE GUY"! I’ve watched him grow into the man he is and cannot wait to see him play his First NFL game! Even though Jordan was taken in the 2nd round, let me tell you, he’s a first round guy in LIFE! I also believe things happen for a reason and landing with Chip Kelly’s Eagles I believe has insured a long productive career! Even if Jordan had not realized the dream of making it to the NFL he still would be a winner and a champion at life. He knows what it takes. He lives his values, he knows who he is, and he chases down goals relentlessly. He’s gone from under dog to champion! You cant go wrong following that blue print!
Pretty cool stuff. Matthews' hard work has been on full display throughout the Eagles spring workouts. His offseason performance has already caused hype around him to skyrocket. It'll be interesting to see if it pays off in the fall.