Self-made man

Green Bay Packers’ linebacker Clay Matthews has been the subject of questions since USC teammate Brian Cushing, a linebacker for the Houston Texans, was suspended four games for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

We were among those quick to wonder whether Matthews, who went from a walk-on at USC to a first-round NFL draft pick after starting only one season, might have followed Cushing’s lead in the doping department.

Matthews was quick to put the question to rest, this week.

“I’ve never taken steroids,” Matthews said. “I would never even touch a banned substance. I’ve never done drugs, never in my life.

“As you can see from my family, I think our history speaks for itself. We’ve got some talented people in my family in regards to football, and we do it the right way. I take that very serious, when people throw accusations my way, because I feel like I’ve done nothing but hard work. I’ve done everything I needed to do to put myself in this position. And if people want to try to bring me down, that’s fine. But I’m going to keep being myself.”

Matthews is right, of course. He hasn’t done anything wrong and his record indicates he’s done nothing but work hard, but his walk-on-to-Pro Bowler story and his close friendship with Cushing would make any reasonable person wonder.

Despite their friendship, Matthews says even he was surprised by Cushing’s suspension.

“I was very shocked,” Matthews said. “I obviously played for this guy for four years at SC. He’s a great friend of mine, I know the type of work ethic he has. It would give you no indication that he would partake in such actions. So for me, it’s very hard to believe.

“I really don’t know the full details on the story, but he’s one of the hardest-working guys I know, and he’s always been very cautious about what he puts in his body, and he’s very meticulous – as you can see with how he plays, how he trains, and how he approaches life. I’m rooting for him, I’m pulling for him. He’ll make it through this and I think he’ll have just as great a season this second year as he did his first.”

Now that that’s been cleared up, let’s get down to business and play some football.