Green Bay Packers: 52 days to football – Matthews, Winters, Cumby and … Engebretsen

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Green Bay Packers linebacker Clay Matthews (52). Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Clay Matthews

As Ted Thompson’s defensive star, Matthews has been a superstar for the Packers over the course of the past five years. He was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2009 NFL Draft, with Thompson trading back into the first round to take him.

It wasn’t easy getting Matthews in Green and Gold. Here is how Wikipedia describes the chain of events that eventually gave the Packers the 26th pick of the first round of that draft:

"On draft day, April 25, 2009, the Packers traded their 2nd round pick (41st overall, Darius Butler), their 3rd round pick (73rd overall, Derek Cox, Jacksonville Jaguars) and the 83rd overall pick acquired for Favre (Brandon Tate) to the New England Patriots for a 1st round pick (26th overall) and a 5th round pick (162nd overall, Jamon Meredith) in that year’s draft."

Most will agree that bringing Matthews to Green Bay was a great move by Thompson … maybe one of his best draft day trades.

However, there are also those who feel Matthews has got to stay healthy if he is going to justify the huge contract the Packers gave him last year. His vulnerable hamstrings have been an issue over the past few years, and last year’s twice-broken thumb has some referring to Matthews as injury-prone.

In all, Matthews has missed 11 games in his five seasons.

2014 will be a crucial season for Matthews. He will be paired with future Hall of Famer Julius Peppers as the Packers have the potential for a much improved presence on the defensive side of the ball.

But for that to happen, Matthews must prove he can stay on the field.

Next: Paul Engebretsen