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Matthews Isn't Dirty But The Play Was

by Tom King

Packer linebacker Clay Matthews Jr. plays with an edge. It's what makes him a great player. It's what transformed him from a benchwarmer at USC into an All-Pro NFL player. That being said...there are times when his act can get annoying. If you, as a Packer fan, are going to rail against the me first preening of the players from other teams, you have to admit that his screaming, hair flying sack dance is right up there with the best (or worst of them).

But that isn't what I'm talking about today. The out-of-bounds hit on Colin Kaepernick is today's conversation. Matthews says he expects a fine for the hit and rightly so. It was a cheap shot. I read some fans Facebook postings during the game which lauded the hit and said it sent a message that the Packers were not soft. Reverse the uniforms and tell me they would have felt the same. If Patrick Willis had closelined Aaron Rodgers that far out of bounds you would have been able to hear the screaming from Bayfield to Beloit.

Matthews had said all week leading up to the game that he would hit Kaepernick as much and as often as he could. He couldnt stop himself from launching even though he could obviously see that the Niner QB was clearly out of bounds. He was willing to take the penalty and any fine that goes with it to prove how tough he was. Is that not a selfish act?

Mike McCarthy said yesterday that Matthews is not a dirty player. I would agree but I would also say that the hit was...and it's a fine line that NFL defenders walk every game. Good Hit or Cheap Shot...depending on your perspective.

It is interesting how the NFL has changed over the decades. Matthews hit would have been business as usual in the 1960's. The clothes-line tackle was regularly used by Butkus, Nitschke and other great linebackers. It will be interesting to get the perspective of former Packer greats at our Green & Gold Legends Lunch next Wednesday at the Great Dane in Wausau. Get your tickets now at our studios and join us from 11-2 on Sept 18th. More info available elsewhere on this website.