FOXBORO, Mass. — It remains to be seen what kind of player Jordan Matthews will be for the New England Patriots this season, but he’s already a big hit with the New England media.
Speaking with reporters Thursday for the first time since signing with the Patriots last week, the 25-year-old wide receiver was as entertaining as he was insightful. Expect to see a lot of microphones around his locker in the coming months.
We’ve already covered how Matthews requested Danny Amendola’s permission before taking Amendola’s old No. 80, his explanation for why he signed with the Patriots and why his history as a slot receiver doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be one for New England. But here are a few leftover notes from Thursday’s media availability:
— Matthews, who played three seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles and one with the Buffalo Bills before coming to New England, has connections with several current Patriots players.
He played with cornerback Eric Rowe in Philadelphia (“Hard-working guy. I knew he was going to come here and do well”) and against defensive end Trey Flowers in high school in Alabama (“My team always won”), and his and defensive end Deatrich Wise’s father pledged the same fraternity at Jackson State.
Since arriving in Foxboro, Matthews said he’s gotten to know fellow wide receiver Julian Edelman but has yet to speak with quarterback Tom Brady.
— Matthews joked that he’s played with quarterbacks “from every nationality.”
“I had a black quarterback in Tyrod (Taylor),” he said. “I had a Native American in Sam Bradford. I always told Carson (Wentz), ‘You’re the ginger of the group.’ And then I visited the Titans, and I’m like, ‘Oh, (Marcus) Mariota’s Hawaiian.’ It’s crazy. But I guess that shows you where the league is going.”
— Gillette Stadium won’t be an unfamiliar setting for Matthews. He played a regular-season game and a preseason game there during his time with the Eagles and participated in joint practices on the premises back in 2014.
Matthews’ college career also included a trip to Foxboro. As a senior in 2013, his Vanderbilt Commodores visited the Patriots’ home stadium for a matchup with UMass.
Asked if he remembers anything about that game, Matthews enthusiastically responded: “Bro, I jumped over somebody! Dirty. It was dirty. I got him bad.”
Yep, that’s an accurate description:
UMass went 1-11 that season, but it put a scare into its SEC opponent, trailing just 10-7 at halftime before losing 24-7.
“We almost got beat that game,” Matthews recalled. “Coach (James) Franklin was big on if we didn’t win, we couldn’t go out and hang out that night. And we were Vanderbilt, so we weren’t going out a lot. …
“We played UMass early in the day, and we had all these young freshmen that we were trusting to play, all these sophomores that we needed to come up big for us. And it was an early game, so we were like, ‘We’re going to win this game vs. UMass, and we’re going to fly back, it’ll be like 3 o’clock since (Foxboro) is Eastern time, and we’re going to have a great time at Vanderbilt.
“We almost lost. It was halftime, and it was, like, tied up. I was like, ‘Guys, y’all are trippin’.’ So we came out, I jumped over a dude and we won. It was great.”
The Minutemen nearly pulled an upset the following season at Vanderbilt, losing 34-31 on a touchdown pass with 1:08 remaining. Current Patriots defensive lineman Adam Butler had a fumble recovery for a touchdown in that game for the Commodores.
Thumbnail photo via Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports Images
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