JORDAN MATTHEWS, WR
April 12, 2018
Q: What have your first impressions of this organization been?
JM: I think it's been really nice. Coming here for my visit, I really enjoyed it. Talking to some of the coaches and then just getting back here after signing, meeting some of the guys, working out with them. The guys here work really hard and are really dedicated, so it's been fun so far.
Q: Why did you decide to sign with the Patriots?
JM: Probably the biggest reason was I knew this was the best opportunity for me to grow as a player. I had some other teams that contacted me that I visited. I knew just as a player and as a man – I'm recently married. I'm about to have my first child. I don't feel like I'm called to be comfortable and I knew this would be 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 whole offseason.
Q: Have you had a chance to connect with Tom Brady yet?
JM: No, I haven't talked to him.
Q: What stood out about the Patriots as you were going through your free agency visits?
JM: I think the biggest thing [was] just the attitude. When I walked into the building I could feel that there was an aura of 'Let's get better every day.' I think sometimes in the offseason it's easy to kind of slip into that kind of monotonous mindset and just saying, 'OK, we're just bringing people in,' or whatever. But there was a lot of intentionality during the visit. They were very detailed. They were very specific with me on what they thought about me and areas that they thought I could grow in. I appreciated that more than anything. I appreciated that type of honesty and so when I got back to the hotel with Cheyna, we just talked about it and we knew this is definitely the best place.
Q: This is a pretty deep receiving group. How do you view the competition here at your position?
JM: I think it's the best thing ever. I think that's what's really going to breed greatness in all of us. At the end of the day, if you don't have that type of competition then that's the easiest way that guys start saying, 'OK, this guy's a rookie. This guy's young. This guy has no production.' But I feel like we have a group of a lot of guys that are not just competitors, but they have had production in the league so they've proven it. So, it's not just, 'OK, this guy has potential.' No, there's a lot of production, so I think that's one thing to really be excited about. But also, there are a lot of great guys. I've spent some time around Julian [Edelman], talking to him, so I can't wait to meet the rest of them.
Q: Your numbers dipped a little bit last year. How much of that was due to use, or health or just the passing game in general?
JM: I think its documented already that I was dealing with some issues as far as injuries last year, but the thing is, though, I appreciate Coach [Sean] McDermott for letting me have that time to go get healthy, so now I'm healthy and I'm able to get back to work and really get myself back to where I was before. I know that's kind of a big thing to a lot of people – the numbers, the production and all of that stuff – but for me, at this point in my career, I'm really just worried about going out there and being the best player that I can be and really just helping this team win.
Q: What does it mean for you to come here and have some stability at the quarterback position with Tom Brady?
JM: It's cool. It's something I'm really excited about. I always joke with a lot of my quarterbacks that I've had from every nationality. I had a black quarterback in Tyrod [Taylor]. I had a Native American in Sam Bradford. Who else? I always tell Carson [Wentz] 'You're the ginger of the group.' It's crazy, and then I visited the Titans and [Marcus] Mariota is Hawaiian. It was crazy; I met so many. I guess that shows you where the league is going. In all seriousness, it's an honor to be able to play in an offense like this, in general, ran by Coach [Josh] McDaniels and then have a quarterback like Tom to be able to learn from and get better with. I think that's something that any wide receiver should be excited about.
Q: Do you feel most comfortable playing in the slot?
JM: I feel comfortable anywhere, honestly. When I came into the league it was a situation where we had two guys that were very experienced on the outside in Jeremy Maclin and Riley Cooper, so Coach [Chip] Kelly really wanted me inside just to learn and to kind of help guys get situated, so that was a place where I had a lot of production early on so it's kind of where I got put for the rest of the time, but I'm confident in both areas. Whatever the team wants to use me at, I'm comfortable with.
Q: Could you see you and Julian Edelman co-existing as slots receivers?
JM: I think that's way too early for that. If we were playing Madden I'd be like, 'Yeah, that sounds cool.' But to talk about real football, it's too early for that.
Q: How much confidence do you have to come in to a new place and learn the offense given your experience in other systems?
JM: It's definitely a challenge because once you get back into the playbooks, learning all the formations and stuff like that, all that, but yeah, I know I can do that. It's not a situation where I'm always like, 'OK, I've got to make sure I know this guy, this different variable,' and all of that stuff. I went to Buffalo after Week One of the preseason, so I had to learn a whole playbook by the next practice. So, that's not something that really scares me. It's something to get excited about, so I'm actually looking forward to it.
Q: What helped you learn the playbook so fast in that situation?
JM: I went to Vanderbilt, so I don't know. My mom always tells me I'm smart, so she's right.
Q: Did you know any of the guys in the locker room before you got here?
JM: Yeah, I knew Eric Rowe. [He's] a great kid. I was with him with the Eagles. [He's] a hard-working guy. I knew he was going to come here and do well. Trey Flowers – I grew up with Trey Flowers. We actually played high school football against each other. My team always won. Who else? I want to say that there's got to be someone else here. Deatrich Wise – both of our dads actually pledged the same fraternity back at Jackson State University and we're both frat brothers. He pledged at Arkansas and I pledged at Vanderbilt. I know a couple of guys, but I think that's the most off the top of my head.
Q: Was it logistically a no-brainer for you to just stay around here after signing despite the fact that the offseason program doesn't begin until this Monday?
JM: Yeah, I've always kind of been the type to kind of want to get rolling wherever I'm going to be and kind of just get my footing a little bit. Like I said, just coming in here and working out with the strength staff and getting to know some of the guys, I think that's going to help that transition over into next week so my heads just not spinning with all this stuff. I can actually get on some type of schedule, and then once we start with the whole team I think it'll be a lot easier.
Q: Are you feeling 100 percent at this point?
JM: Yeah, I feel great. Yeah, I feel good.
Q: Will you be wearing No. 80?
JM: Yeah, 80. I actually talked to Danny [Amendola]. That's my guy. I knew Danny. Yeah, I met Danny at Sam Bradford's wedding, so that was the other one. So I talked to Danny about it; he said I could have it. I've got a lot of respect for his game.
Q: Did New England's history of slot receiver production influence your decision to play here?
JM: No, not really. I already said pretty much why. Every team that talked to me was like, 'Hey, we can help you have production,' but that's not what I was really looking for. I wanted to go to a place where I could truly grow in making myself better.
Q: You mentioned that you were called on to not be comfortable. What does that mean?
JM: Yeah, I feel like in my life, my foundation of what I believe in my faith, I believe I'm called not to be comfortable. I believe that it's so easy for us as people to say, 'OK, what's the easiest road 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. So I guess in my life, in myself, I'm not looking for the easiest route to make myself kind of just 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 that I do I feel like has meaning, and then I can kind of pour that out on my family, I can influence my wife, my future children and just people around me.
Q: Is it the competition in the wide receiver room that makes you say that this might be an uncomfortable place? Or have you heard that from practicing and playing against the team?
JM: No, I think it's more so, like I said, I played twice when I was in Buffalo, came here and practiced like you mentioned and then, like I said, the competition. I think the competition, the expectation – both of those mixed together I think is what makes it a place that any receiver should be excited to get here and work in.
Q: What is your connection to Danny Amendola?
JM: I met him at Sam Bradford's wedding, so we were kicking it, had a great time. He was just a real cool dude, gave me a lot of good tidbits and stuff, because going into the next year, it was going to be my second year with Sam. He had played with Sam a lot in St. Louis, so he was just telling me about some things that Sam really liked in the offense and everything. It was good; we had a good conversation.
Q: So after you were given No. 80, you called Danny just to make sure it was OK with him?
JM: Well, no, I called him before. I called him before I got it. Yeah, I was just making sure because, like I said, I know what he did here. I don't think that you have to get a number retired and all that stuff to understand you need to have respect for what guys do in a place like this – especially, I think they call him "Danny Playoff," and I think he earned that nickname. I just wanted to make sure from him, 'Hey, is this cool?' He said it was.
Q: Did you want to try to swing a deal for No. 87?
JM: I think somebody's wearing that, so I was like, 'OK, whoever has it, I can probably fight him.' But then I heard he was big and I said, 'I won't worry about it. He can have it.'
Q: What's a typical day like for you in New England right now?
JM: A typical day - well, right now, my wife's not here right now. She actually plays pro soccer. She's not playing right now because of the baby, but she's going back to visit her team. So, I'm solo dolo for this week, but for the most part, just wake up 6, usually go in, see Ted [Harper], eat, guys go in. I'm just watching some game film from last season just so I can start kind of seeing some of the calls, seeing some of the formations, just learning a little bit. And then just go lift with the guys and then just meet Ted for all my meals. I mean, you can't beat free food, so I usually tell myself I stay for all the meals. It's a pretty good amount of hours I put into the day, so that's what I usually try to do.
Q: Since you are related to Jerry Rice, have you talked to him about what you're doing now or football in general?
JM: Yeah, I talked to Jerry more when I was coming out as far as like I'm like 20, 21. I was wet behind the ears, didn't really know anything, so I really wanted some advice coming into the league. But, I mean at this point, it's just like OK, I'm almost 26. You can't be a grown man calling a grown man every other day. So, if anything, it's just like, 'Hey, how are you doing?' here and there, but it's nothing more than that.
Q: Did your relationship with Jerry Rice play a factor into you choosing No. 80?
JM: When I was a kid, yeah. That was the first number I ever wore playing football was No. 80. I wore 80. I guess my brother was a traitor, but he was more St. Louis. His favorite player was Marshall Faulk, so not Jerry, but he wore [No.] 28. So, those were our numbers. Yeah, that's kind of why I wanted to go back to that.
Q: When you were coming out of Vanderbilt, did you have any contact with the Patriots leading up to the draft?
JM: Did I? I know I met one of the guys at the Senior Bowl, but there's so much stuff going on there. I mean, you meet with everybody and so I can't even really recall.
Q: Do you remember playing here at Gillette Stadium in college?
JM: Bro, I jumped over somebody. It was dirty. Dirty. I got him bad. Yeah, we were playing UMass. It was crazy because we almost got beat that game. Coach [James] Franklin, he was like big on if we didn't win, we couldn't go out and hang out that night. I mean, we were Vanderbilt, so we weren't going out a lot, you know what I mean? So it wasn't too good at first, and then we started winning in the latter part of James Franklin's career there. But I guess we played UMass early in the day. So, 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, 'Oh, we're going to win this game versus UMass, and we're going to be able to fly back. It's going to be like 3 o'clock,' – because y'all are Eastern time – 'and we're going to have a great time at Vanderbilt.' We almost lost. It was like halftime and it was tied up. I'm like, 'Guys, y'all are tripping.' So, we came out, I jumped over a dude, we won and it was great.
Q: But you can't underestimate UMass, right?
JM: I know, right? They're a good team. They had a tight end back then that was really good. They had Tajae Sharpe – a receiver. Yeah, I was running routes with him a couple weeks ago. He's a good kid, a good player.
Q: UMass is actually a great team.
JM: You went there! You said that with too much conviction. You like them. That's your team.
Q: You also had a touchdown in the 2015 game when you were with the Eagles, right?
JM: Yeah, that was a crazy one. We needed that one at the time, but like I said, that's the past, so it's all good.
Q: Did you catch that on Malcolm Butler?
JM: Man, dude, do you know how fast our offense was? I don't know who I caught it on. We were just like this [crosses hands] back in the day.