Clay Matthews: Green Bay Packers is a special organization


Clay Matthews is introduced at a game at Lambeau Field. Matthews, who signed a five-year contract this week to stay with the Packers, says the Packers franchise is something special.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

The Green Bay Packers is a different franchise, I think every Packers fan and most people who view the organization from the outside agree – and Clay Matthews reiterated what we already know today when he talked about his new contract and much more on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

First of all, the organization doesn’t have a single owner who pushes their personality on the team – in fact, the Packers have thousands of owners – the fans who own stock in the team. Though they have no say in how the organization is managed, the members of the Packers board of directors hear what the fans say, what they think.

Aaron Rodgers is poised to sign a new contract with the Green Bay Packers.

Raymond T. Rivard photograph

Second of all, professionalism has been the key word that describes the Packers on and off the field. When the Mike McCarthy/Ted Thompson/Mark Murphy took over the reins of the team about eight years ago, they picked up where the Mike Holmgren/Ron Wolf/Bob Harlan triumvirate left off and it’s been a relative smooth transition. The bottom line is that there is an unspoken code in Green Bay – one that was so well described by Mathews.

Here’s what he had to say about how players handle the issue of contracts:

"“We like to keep everything in-house, make sure we handle our business professionally. There is not a lot of buzz around these contract negotiations, as well as Aaron’s here in the near future. So I’m sure we will wake up one day and hopefully they will announce he is the highest-paid quarterback. In the meantime, you are not going to be hearing much grumbling from anyone.”"

His description hits home for all Packers fans – folks who have come to expect excellence not only from the leaders of the franchise, but also from the players who excel on the field and carry themselves with dignity off the the field.

Again, here’s Matthews, who has only been in Green Bay for four years, but clearly understands how things operate:

"“I think that is one of the most important things they look at. Obviously, you need to have athletic ability and be able to help this team, but for the most part, you look at the players up and down the board, it’s very rare that you are going to find a Packer get into trouble or saying something outlandish.”"

About as outlandish as they get in Green Bay these days is Jermichael Finley who occasionally opens his mouth and inserts his foot by saying stupid things, but he also comes around when he hears the backlash. The most recent example of that was Finley’s declaration that he would donate funds for every dropped pass and every one of his touchdown catches to be used toward helping those in Boston. By doing so, Finley has redeemed himself and placed himself in good stead, and is a shining example as to why the Packers organization expects more from its players than most.

Matthews is a happy man because of the $69 million contract he signed with the Packers this week, so maybe his words are somewhat influenced, but he wouldn’t have signed the contract in the first place had he not believed them before putting pen to paper.

What Matthews is describing is a winning formula where the team rewards its players when they perform on the field and take care of their personal lives in an upstanding way.

That’s what makes this franchise different and why players like Matthews and soon-to-be-the-highest-paid-quarterback-in-the-league Aaron Rodgers are glad to be a part of it and will be so for many years to come.