FOXBORO, Mass. — Recently signed Patriots wide receiver Jordan Matthews knows it won’t be easy in New England, and he’s fine with that.
In fact, he’s more than OK with it.
Matthews embraces being uncomfortable, because he knows that’s how he will grow as a football player and human being. And knowing he’ll be uncomfortable with the Patriots is one of the main reasons he elected to sign a one-year, $1 million contract with New England as a free agent this offseason.
“I think the biggest reason was I knew this was the best opportunity for me to grow as a player,” Matthews said Thursday at Gillette Stadium. “I had some other teams that contacted me that I visited, but I knew just as a player and as a man — I’m recently married, about to have my first child — I don’t think I’m called to be comfortable, and I knew this would be a great place for me to grow not only as a player but as a man in general. I’m looking forward to getting to know the guys and really getting to work this offseason.”
So, what’s Matthews’ problem with being comfortable in any given situation?
“I feel like in my life, my foundation of what I believe and my faith, I feel like I’m called on not to be comfortable,” Matthews said. ” I feel like it’s so easy for us as people to say, ‘OK, what’s the easiest role, and what’s the path of least resistance?’ And then we look up at our lives and we’re 80 years old, and we haven’t done anything great. And so, I guess in my life, in myself, I’m not looking for the easiest route to kind of make myself look great. I want to always do what’s going to make it harder for me to attain any level of success, so that way, anything I can do has meaning. And then I can pour that out on my family, I can influence my wife, my future children and just anyone around me.”
It’s understandable why Matthews believes he’ll be uncomfortable with the Patriots. He’s learning a new offense that’s known to be one of the more complex systems in the NFL. Other veteran receivers have struggled to grasp the Patriots’ offense in their first season, and Matthews is only on a one-year deal. He has to move to a new city for the second time in eight months, and he might even need to change his position.
“I think the competition and the expectation, those things mixed together, make it a place that any receiver should be excited to get here and work in and try to play in,” Matthews said.
Matthews initially visited with the Patriots last Monday and signed three days later. He liked what he saw in the Patriots’ facility.
“I think the biggest thing (was) just the attitude when I walked into the building,” Matthews said. “I could feel there was an aura of let’s get better today. I think sometimes in the offseason it’s easy to slip into that kind of monotonous mindset and just say, ‘OK, we’re just bringing people in, whatever.’ But there was a lot of intentionality during the visit, they were very detailed. People were very specific with me on what they thought about me and what areas they even thought I could grow in. I appreciate that more than anything. I appreciate that kind of honesty. So, when I got back to the hotel with Cheyna (Matthews’ wife), we just talked about it, and we knew like, ‘Yeah, this is definitely the best place.’ ”
Matthews will be learning his fourth offense in five NFL seasons after spending his first three years with the Philadelphia Eagles and 2017 with the Buffalo Bills. So, he’s used to a lack of comfort.
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