Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews is out with a new book, “Inside the NFL's First Family: My Life of Football, Faith, and Fatherhood” (Howard Books). It’s a 256-page dive into Matthews sports history that started with Howard Lynn “Matty” Matthews, a multi-sport Citadel coach from the 1920s to the 1950s.
It includes three generations of NFL players.
Bruce Matthews might have to add a chapter in the next few weeks: First cousins Jake Matthews and Clay Matthews III square off Sunday in the NFC Championship Game at the Georgia Dome, with one of them guaranteed a trip to the Super Bowl.
Clay III is a Green Bay Packers Pro Bowl linebacker, the son of former NFL star linebacker Clay Matthews Jr.
Jake Matthews is the Atlanta Falcons’ left tackle and Bruce’s son.
Their grandfather is 88-year-old Clay Matthews Sr., a Mount Pleasant resident and Charleston native who played football at Georgia Tech and for the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers.
Clay Matthews III has one Super Bowl ring already, having helped Green Bay defeat Pittsburgh in Super Bowl XLV in 2011. Jake Matthews has extra incentive for Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston; he grew up in suburban Missouri City.
Jake is assigned to protect Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan’s blindside. Clay III is a sack specialist. The cousin-on-cousin battle didn’t materialize during Atlanta’s thrilling 33-32 victory over Green Bay at the Georgia Dome on Oct. 30; Clay III was out with a hamstring injury.
The only other meeting was in 2014, Jake’s rookie season, when Atlanta lost to Green Bay at Lambeau Field, 43-37.
“The whole family is excited,” Jake told Fox Sports this week. “I’m ready to get after him.”
Matty Matthews: Boxing, baseball and track coach at the Citadel.
- Clay Matthews Sr. didn’t just play football at Georgia Tech, he won two SEC wrestling titles and was on the swim team. He played for the 49ers for four seasons. Other players in the 1949 NFL draft with Matthews Sr.: Hall of Famers Chuck Bednarik, Doak Walker, Norm Van Brocklin and George Blanda.
Clay Sr.’s sons:
- Clay Matthews Jr., the Cleveland Browns’ No. 1 pick in 1978 out of Southern Cal, made four Pro Bowl appearances in 19 NFL seasons with the Browns and Falcons.
- Bruce Matthews, the Houston Oilers’ No. 1 pick in 1983 out of Southern Cal made 14 Pro Bowls in 19 NFL seasons with the Oilers and Tennessee Titans on the way to the Hall of Fame.
Clay Jr’s sons:
- Clay Matthews III. Packers No. 1 pick in 2009 (Southern Cal). Six Pro Bowls. Star of TV commercials.
- Casey Matthews. Former Oregon linebacker played for the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings from 2011-2015.
- Kevin Matthews (Texas A&M) played center for the Titans, Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers from 2010-2014.
- Jake Matthews (Texas A&M). Twice All-SEC. Falcons made him the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 draft.
- Mike Matthews. A three-year starter at center for Texas A&M, signed with the Browns as a free agent last spring but was released in September.
“We’d like to have the family over (for dinner),” Clay Sr. once said. “But my wife says we couldn't afford it.”
So Bruce Matthews’ book might require more than a new chapter. Maybe a sequel as the fourth generation of Matthews athletes raises talented children.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff