2015 DRAFT GUIDE
Matthews back from sore hamstring for Packers

By GENARO C. ARMAS - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-03 18:01

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) - It's easy to spot Clay Matthews at Packers practice, with his long blond hair protruding from his helmet and on to his neck and shoulders.

When the veterans are getting a break, the pass-rushing outside linebacker can often be found taking a breather next to A.J. Hawk, the durable inside linebacker.

After some doubt, they'll be together again this weekend to face the Detroit Lions. The Packers' bye week did wonders for Matthews and his sore hamstring.

``Well I mean we obviously had the bye week, which helped out as far as'' getting healthy, Matthews said Thursday. ``It was a fortuitous bye week, I'll say that.''

The TV commercial star and the eight-year veteran. The energized Matthews, in his fifth season, and the well-spoken, blue-collar Hawk. Mainstays of the Packers starting linebacking corps since 2009.

So many games against NFC North foes like the Lions, it must make playing them seem like second nature.

Wrong, said Hawk. Especially with Reggie Bush in the mix now in Detroit to join receiver Calvin Johnson to give opposing defenses headaches.

``And the truth is, I've been part of a lot of games like that. You go in with all these things that you think are 100 percent, and they can change in division games,'' Hawk said. ``I need these days leading up to every game. I need every rep I can get because we're working on so many different looks and so many different things.''

Sounds like sage comments a grizzled veteran would say. Hawk agreed to a pay cut in the offseason, not worried about outside perception of the deal. Hawk has also taken heat from fans about perhaps being a step slow, or not making enough big plays.

But he does make tackles - 28 this year, second behind Brad Jones, and a team-high 145 last season. He's also durable, having played in 123 of a possible 125 games while in Green Bay.

It's all in the preparation, Hawk said, at least until Sunday.

``I have little tips in the back of my head that I've written down all week,'' he said. ``But I know once I'm out there, we just need to run around and make plays.''

Which is exactly what Matthews is known for, becoming one of the league's most popular defensive players. His No. 52 jerseys might be outnumbered in the Lambeau Field stands only by the No. 12 jerseys for Aaron Rodgers among current players.

When he's on the field, Matthews fires up the crowd and his teammates. When he's on the sideline with a hamstring injury, like when he was knocked out of the Bengals game two weeks ago, it gives the green-and-gold fans a scare.

Matthews missed four games last season with a hamstring problem. He quickly reminded reporters Thursday that when he returned, Dec. 16 at Chicago, he had two sacks.

``The first part of getting over a hamstring strain is healing, and obviously I can't control that,'' Matthews said. ``But coming back, the final hurdle you have to overcome is mentally are you comfortable with exerting 100 percent effort or even more so. I wouldn't put myself out there if I wasn't.''

In his fifth season in the league, Matthews still possesses the wide-eyed eagerness of a rookie. But that experience is building up in his brain, beneath those trademark locks, especially when it comes to dealing with his hamstring.

Matthews was playing well with two forced fumbles and a sack against Cincinnati before departing. It was a joint decision with medical staff and coaches.

``I just told them where I was at and how I felt and moving forward what the smart thing would be,'' Matthews said. ``At that point in the game, with that lead, too, I felt like it was the wise decision.''

The Packers went on to cough up their 16-point lead.

But it's a long season. After the early bye, the Packers will have to play 13 straight weeks.

``I think I've become a lot smarter. Obviously a younger player would have kind have pressed the issue, maybe hurt himself even more so,'' Matthews said. ``But I think we're smart with the events that took place in Cincinnati and where we're at now, so fortunately there will be no time missed.''

---

Online:

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

---

Follow Genaro Armas at http://twitter.com/GArmasAP

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Brandon ColemanSep 2 10:03p

New Orleans Saints WR Brandon Coleman has impressed QB Drew Brees during training camp and the preseason. The quarterback said Tuesday, Sept. 2, that he has a great comfort level with Coleman.

Richard RodgersSep 2 09:43p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers is expected to see more opportunities in the passing game with WR Jordy Nelson (knee) done for the season.

Melvin GordonSep 2 08:23p

San Diego Chargers RBs Melvin Gordon, Danny Woodhead, Branden Oliver and Donald Brown will be part of a committee at running back this season, according to QB Philip Rivers. [ More ]

Randall CobbSep 2 07:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) said he'd be comfortable starting in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears even if he doesn't practice next week. However, wide receivers [ More ]

Giovani BernardSep 2 06:03p

Cincinnati Bengals RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard both finished among the top-16 running backs in point-per-reception leagues last season.

Tom BradySep 2 04:33p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady doesn't look like he'll reach a settlement with the NFL. The league and the NFL Player's Associated have not had any talks regarding [ More ]

Victor CruzSep 2 04:03p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (calf) is doubtful to play Week 1, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Dan Graziano. Cruz has not yet been cleared to practice and did not participate in the preseason.

LeSean McCoySep 2 01:43p

Updating an earlier report, Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) may not be in great 'football shape' once Week 1 rolls around, according to a source. He's not at [ More ]

LeSean McCoySep 2 12:43p

Buffalo Bills RB LeSean McCoy (hamstring) seems to be in some danger of missing the season opener Sept. 13. 'Well we certainly expect him to be ready to go, [ More ]

EJ ManuelSep 2 11:33a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is expected to remain on the team as the backup quarterback. There is growing expectations that QB Matt Cassel will be cut.

Matt CasselSep 2 09:23a

Buffalo Bills QB Matt Cassel could be cut by the team, as they are internally discussing the option.

Joseph RandleSep 2 08:33a

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle could have 10-15 carries per game with RB Darren McFadden slightly below that, in the opinion of beat writer Drew Davison

Travis CoonsSep 1 11:03p

Cleveland Browns PK Travis Coons edged out PK Carey Spear, winning the battle for the placekicking job. 'Yeah, it was close. I thought both guys handled themselves very well, [ More ]

Nick ToonSep 1 07:43p

New Orleans Saints WRs Nick Toon, Lance Lewis and R.J. Harris were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Randall CobbSep 1 06:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) thinks his sprained right shoulder will be good to go to play in Week 1 against the Chicago Bears in 12 days. [ More ]

James ButlerSep 1 05:53p

Green Bay Packers WR James Butler and TE Harold Spears were released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Julius ThomasSep 1 05:23p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (finger) will undergo surgery on his injured finger Wednesday, Sept. 2, according to a source. Thomas is expected to miss four to five weeks.

Zac DysertSep 1 05:13p

Free-agent QB Zac Dysert (Broncos) was claimed by the Chicago Bears Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Tom BradySep 1 05:03p

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots QB Tom Brady will know his fate by the end of this week. Judge Richard Berman said he will issue his decision and order by that time.

Matt BlanchardSep 1 04:53p

Green Bay Packers QB Matt Blanchard was released Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to a source.

Juron CrinerSep 1 04:32p

New York Giants RB Akeem Hunt (hamstring) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Juron Criner and Derrick X. Johnson and TE Will Tye were also waived.

Robert HerronSep 1 04:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers WR Robert Herron was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Phil TaylorSep 1 04:23p

Cleveland Browns DT Phil Taylor was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Junior HemingwaySep 1 04:12p

Kansas City Chiefs WR Junior Hemingway was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Michael HillSep 1 04:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Michael Hill (undisclosed) was waived/injured Tuesday, Sept. 1. WRs Antwan Goodley and David Porter and TE Brandon Barden were also waived.

Travis KelceSep 1 03:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce (ankle) would be able to play if the Chiefs had a game Tuesday, Sept. 1, according to head coach Andy Reid. Kelce is recovering from an ankle sprain.

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 03:03p

Carolina Panthers WRs Jarrett Boykin and De'Andre Presley were waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Jace AmaroSep 1 01:33p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (shoulder) will have season-ending shoulder surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Erik LorigSep 1 12:33p

New Orleans Saints FB Erik Lorig was cut Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Nathan PalmerSep 1 11:53a

Denver Broncos WR Nathan Palmer was waived Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Devonta FreemanSep 1 11:32a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman was the most active in practice Monday, Aug. 31, that he was been since a hamstring injury Aug. 6. It's unclear whether he'll play [ More ]

Jarrett BoykinSep 1 10:33a

Carolina Panthers WR Jarrett Boykin was released Tuesday, Sept. 1.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group