Clay Matthews conference call (9.20.19)

Clay Matthews conference call:

On how special it is to be inducted into the Browns Ring of Honor and return to Cleveland:

“Both of those things, extremely humbled to be honored in this manner.  Especially with having a child playing against the other team, which presents some issues. Just to get back to Cleveland. Unfortunately, watching my boys over the years, I have not been able to come back as much as I would like. Every time you come back, it just brings back magical memories. You throw all that in and it makes for an incredible, special weekend from my point of view.”


On his reaction when General Manager John Dorsey called him to deliver the news that he would be in the Ring of Honor:

“I was completely surprised. There are some powerful figures in that Ring of Honor – figures that we as Browns of the 70s, 80s and 90s tried to match. We got close, but we never got the Super Bowl, which they had World Championships. Those were always incredible figures that we could not quite match up to but we were aware of them and their names and what they had done. When you look at that and the company, I am again just so humbled.”


On how many family members will be present on Sunday:

“Somewhere right around 20. I have 10 grandchildren now – not all of them can come; actually, all but three are here I think. That is what is going to make it more special, too. You can’t really do this football thing without having family support, whether you are coaching, playing or whatever you are doing. Just to have them here is fantastic.”


On if has driven past his old house in Strongsville, Ohio:

“I have done that in the past, but I do not know if I will have time this time.”


On if any Browns memories in particular stand out:

“I thought about that a lot as I have gone through this process. The interesting thing is the memories that are the most vivid are the memories that you have with your teammates in the locker room. The locker room was just an incredible place where you had folks from so many different backgrounds, but we all came together in a common goal. The other memories that you think would have been a big play, tackle or interception or something like that. Those are certainly there, but really what I remember was it might have been a different time, but when I went around the City of Cleveland, how I would run into folks and they were all so knowledgeable and they were very respectful, too. I had great conversations at the 7/11 or the gas stations. I know the world has changed a little bit and it is different, but back then, I just remember having wonderful experiences like that. You take the top two of the locker room and meeting folks out on the road around Cleveland. Certainly, there were wonderful days where we won. That is what seems to stand out.”


On his daughter Jennifer Matthews coordinating a campaign for enshrinement in the Pro Football Hall of Fame:

“You learn about yourself when you go through this process. On one hand, I was motivated to be the best player I could be. Actually, I had a goal to be the best linebacker that there was in the league. Yet whenever somebody talks about, ‘Hey you did a pretty good job or we would like to get you an award,’ I feel extremely uncomfortable in that conversation. It got beat into me that we were going to win or lose as a team. That honor is a magical honor. Gosh, I would love for that to happen. I just think it is something I am uncomfortable talking about because I realize anything I did as a player really required my teammates to be there. Any height I reached, they helped me get there. I have really become aware of how important that is and how much I feel about that.’


On if he ever gave Pro Football Hall of Fame TE Ozzie Newsome a hard him about being picked in the draft before him:

“No (laughter). No, once you get there, they count out. That is the interesting thing about football. Once you get to camp, it is not how you got there; it is about how you do. There certainly were players who were drafted that came in and did so well. I have enjoyed following Ozzie’s career. He has done a fantastic job.”


On his longevity in the NFL and if signing one-year contracts toward the beginning of training camps helped:

“Are you trying to say I was doing the Coach McVay before everybody started skipping training camp? No, I just loved competing. Once I got into it, I wanted to be the best player I could be and the best linebacker. It became important to me what I did Monday-Saturday with applying myself with mental intensity, and then Sunday, you would have the physical and mental intensity. I would like to say that I became a true professional. I am sure there is still that I could have done a little more of. If anything, I am putting it into a word that maybe is not the proper word. I have an addiction to trying to be the best player that I can be, and to a degree, I miss that.”


On how long he has had his current car:

“I took my wife’s old car. To me, cars – as long as they start and go, that is pretty good.”


On how long has the car been in the household:

“About six years. Not as long as that 1975 Mercury Capri (laughter).”


On what happened to the 1975 Mercury Capri:

“Actually, we auctioned it off for charity. Then a gentleman purchased it, took it home and then his wife called in. He must have been a super fan because she called in and said, ‘We are about to have our first child. We have this money budgeted for something else.’ We gave her back the money. It did not end up being the grandiose fundraiser we thought it would be, but somebody got a little bit of interest out of it.”


On what football has meant to his family:

“It is has just been a magical ride. We have folks everywhere now, and we have the Texas Matthews down there and they are putting players everywhere. We have (Rams LB) Clay (Matthews) who has been with Green Bay, USC and then (Vikings LB) Casey (Matthews) who was with the Oregon Ducks and then with Philadelphia. It has just been a magical ride. On one end, I thoroughly enjoy it and the highs. Add a few lows in there with injuries and losses, just like with the Browns, but it has been an incredible ride. Like I said, I have 10 grand kids now. I do not know how they are going to do, though. There might be one more linebacker in that group.”


On if it was a Browns fan who bought the car:
“It was.”


On if he is still coaching high school football:

“No. Actually, I swore that I would never coach and then my oldest son was starting out in high school and he had gone in and said, ‘Hey if you guys need any help, my dad might help.’ I went out and I was standing around and Kyle, my oldest, talked to one of the coaches and said, ‘Hey, that is my dad and he will help.’ The gentleman did not know that I had played and he came over and said, ‘I hear you want to help coach.’ I said, ‘Well, if you need help, I will try,’ and he said, ‘Well, what do you know about football?’ I said, ‘I do not know. Where do you need help?’ He said offensive line. Fortunately, I had played defensive line a little bit in rushing the passer and I thought I could just reverse engineer everything in that regard and that was my start. Next thing you know, I was coaching two teams at once and that went on for quite a while. I actually considered very much moving on up and actually thinking about I should go back to the NFL, but the boys were starting to play with the Eagles and the Packers and I thought I did not want to miss that so I did not do it. I will have to get that the next go round.”


On former teammate and Browns QB Brian Sipe trying to hire him:

“No, he did the same thing. I was so surprised. He was the head coach of a high school and I was the defensive coordinator of another high school, and we played each other.”


On what his son’s high school football coach said when he found out who he was:

“You know, I do not think there was ever a conversation about it. I do not know how he felt about it, but I would like to think he knew a thing or two.”


On if he keeps up with the Browns:

“I can’t say I have kept up with the team as much as I would like to, but I followed them. Here is the one thing that we have identified in our family: we have these players now everywhere and even with the Texas Matthews, invariably, the Browns always come up. We have so many different programs and I think that is a testimony to the magic of the Browns.”


On the last time he was in Cleveland:

“Actually, what I would call my middle son is in Cleveland now. He moved here about two years ago. I have been able to come back more because of that. I have come back in town. I just have not been to as many Browns games as I would like to. I think I have been to… Gosh, I went to one when my brother was here and then I went to one when the Packers were here, which was two years ago. In person, to go down to the lakefront again, that is a magical experience and I have not been able to do that as much as I would like, but I have had other things to watch.”


On if it is Casey Matthews who works in Cleveland:

“No, Brian.”


On if it was work that brought his son Brian to Cleveland:

“Yes, he and his wife.


On if it was a coincidence his son now works in Cleveland:

“It was. It was. We knew some folks from Cleveland and it ended up being a good opportunity for them, and they came back and they love it. They have been able to keep me up to date on the fine points of the Browns, which you know if you are not following them day in and day out, it is a little harder, but he has been able to keep me. Both of them have always were big Browns fans and keep me in the loop on the fine points.”


On if Bruce Matthews or Newsome will be in town for his induction:

“No, Bruce, he has one with Texas A&M. He has one with the Falcons so he will be somewhere doing his and he has grandkids too that are starting to hit that age. It might be soccer at this point. No, I will have the family here and we will be ready to go.”


On what it means to him to have such a legacy with the Browns and if he stays in touch with Bernie Kosar:

“I was at a University of Southern California football game, and I was walking around the stadium, trying to hustle to get to my seat. I see this guy walking and I go, ‘That looks just like Bernie Kosar, only older’ (laughter). I saw Bernie and I just could not believe I would see him in that context. He had a family member who is going to the University of Southern California out in Los Angeles so I have seen him a lot recently and have talked to him and really enjoyed talking to him. When you run into the older players, a lot of times to a degree you do not really remember the super highs and the super lows, but you remember the locker room and that atmosphere. It is a magical transition when all of these players from different backgrounds are brought in and they are working so hard for a common goal. It is just amazing how that works. Those things seem to stand out as much or perhaps more than the magical moments on the field. Certainly, the losses, the catastrophic on the verge of the Super Bowl, those type of losses. There was a lot of good in that. Your team would get on a magical run. It was amazing when everything was clicking right and working.”


On being honored by the Browns while his son Clay Matthews tries to defeat them with the Rams:

“I thought about that and realized (laughter) there is some pull each way and I think I found a solution. We will get after it on Sunday night and then how about we meet again in Miami early February and work it out then. We will go best out of two. (laughter)”