Next generation Matthews likes Houston, Titans

February, 21, 2009
2/21/09
5:05
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

INDIANAPOLIS -- Clay Matthews Jr. grew up in Southern California with affection for three teams -- the Cleveland Browns, the Atlanta Falcons and the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans.

His father played linebacker for 16 years with the Browns and three with the Falcons. His uncle was a versatile Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Oilers/Titans for 19 years. The next generation Matthews said he has remained loyal to all three franchises.

A late bloomer, Matthews walked on at USC, blossomed into a top linebacker and is now projected to be selected in the first or second round.

After talking affectionately about Cleveland and Atlanta, he said he'd love to play for the Texans and be close to his uncle.

"I love Texas, I love coming out there and visiting him, to be able to play for Houston would just be a dream come true, I love the area and I love the team," Matthews said at his Saturday podium session at the combine.

How about Tennessee?

"I was able to come out I believe in 2001 and watch Eddie George run for 200 on the Raiders, I believe," he said.

He said he's come across a lot of people with a connection to his family as he prepares to enter the draft.

"I think every person I've met out here in one way or another has been in contact with either my dad or uncle in coaching or playing or training," he said. "In fact I just heard a guy who operated on my dad's arm when he broke it, he was real excited when he heard my name."

If Matthews doesn't have the same longevity in the NFL he should be OK. He graduated from USC in December 2008 with a major in international relations with a minor in business law.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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