With Matthews set to be a free agent this offseason, he really needed to play well last year so that his value would be high in free agency. Instead, Philadelphia’s 2014 second-round pick finished with 25 receptions for 282 yards and one touchdown during an injury-plagued season.
Matthews told SiriusXM NFL Radio he believes misdiagnosed injuries he suffered in Philadelphia contributed to his down year in 2017. Transcript via Buffalo News:
“I think the worst and most frustrating thing about the whole situation was, when I got to Buffalo, I was still dealing with the things that I had to get surgery on,” said Matthews, who was part of a deal that sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles. “But I had two really bad diagnoses on the knee and the ankle, so going into the trade, I thought they were both things that were going to heal on their own. But once I got around Buffalo’s doctors, they got me in touch with the right people and then I got really good feedback.
”We ended up finding out there were other things that I was dealing with, so the thumb was definitely upsetting, the chest was upsetting. But what’s crazy was when they ended up doing my surgery on my knee, they actually told me that, ‘Man, it’s a good thing that you didn’t play more games, you didn’t practice more, because you needed to come here and get this procedure done as soon as possible.’ So, if anything, it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t regret any of the times that happen. I think it honestly has just made me a stronger person, it’s going to make me a better player.”
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the Eagles’ medical staff openly criticized by a former player. Back when the Birds selected Sidney Jones last year, former linebacker Emmanuel Acho said the Eagles don’t have a good medical staff. He specifically described them as “suspect.”
Earlier this offseason, Eagles head athletic trainer Chris Peduzzi stepped down after spending 19 years with the team. Acho and former Eagles safety Earl Wolff, who both dealt with injuries in Philadelphia, responded to the news on Twitter.
— Earl Wolff (@Ewolff28) February 21, 2018
For those who don’t speak emoji, it seems like Wolff agrees with Acho’s negative assessment of the Eagles’ medical staff.
As previously noted, the Eagles were statistically one of the healthiest teams in the NFL from 2013 through 2016. It was a different story in 2017, however, with a number of key players going down to season-ending injuries: Carson Wentz (ACL), Jason Peters (ACL), Darren Sproles (ACL and broken arm), Jordan Hicks (Achilles), and Chris Maragos (PCL).
Here’s hoping the public criticism of the Eagles’ medical staff inspires the team to make sure any issues that might exist are corrected moving forward.