SAN DIEGO -- On the day Ryan Mathews ripped open his first NFL paycheck, he looked at all the commas and tried his best to breathe. His whole life, payday had been his mother's most nervous, bittersweet day: Would there be enough in the check to cover her rent? Would they have to move? Would they even have a roof over their heads?
But suddenly Ryan Mathews was earning more money in one paycheck than his mom had earned in a lifetime three lifetimes.