Iconic USC Football Linebacker officially retires from NFL

Clay Matthews, USC Football, USC Trojans
Clay Matthews, USC Football, USC Trojans / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Former great USC Football Linebacker Clay Matthews III has officially retired from the NFL. Matthews told PackersWire that “My playing days are over.” Matthews played in the NFL from 2009 to 2019 after he was drafted out of USC as a first round pick (26th overall).

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That was just after Matthews stood out as a player who secured 57 tackles, nine tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks, two PDs, and two forced fumbles during his senior season with the Trojans. He was remarkable in college, and he surely didn't skip a beat in the League. Matthews was a SIX-time Pro Bowler in the NFL, and was even named First-Team All-Pro in the NFL.

He was a National Champion at USC, a three-time Rose Bowl Champion at USC, and a Super Bowl Champion with the Green Bay Packers. This is the same guy who had four double-digit sack seasons at the pro level. It's safe to say he was worth the early pick, especially when he had all those sacks during a career where he played as both an outside linebacker AND inside linebacker.

Clay Matthews III had four seasons with 15+ tackles for loss in the NFL after developing with the USC football program.

USC Football product Clay Matthews III had three NFL seasons with seven or more PD's. Having three interceptions in a year as an OLB in 2011 was remarkable. The best part about Matthews, though, was who he became on the biggest stages. Never forget how he had 11 playoff sacks in 15 playoff games. He tacked on four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries too.

This is the same player who LIT UP Pittsburgh Steelers Running Back Rashard Mendenhall for a fumble in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl. Would he and his Packers have gotten the ring without that play? Maybe not, as Pittsburgh was driving and getting well into Packer territory when Matthews broke the ball loose. Green Bay was up just four at the time.

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Matthews was destined for a great career in the NFL. Is it a bummer that it's definitely over? Sure, but it also brings back great memories of what his football career was, not only in the NFL but at SC. Nobody ever will forget the two fumbles he forced in the Rose Bowl against Illinois in 2008. Nobody will forget how well he embodied the Trojan spirit; both in college and in the National Football League.