"I've had people say they hope me and my mom get AIDS and die," Mathews told the newspaper, offering an example of the multitude of hateful messages he has received via Twitter.
Selected 12th overall by the Chargers in 2010 and the heir apparent to franchise icon LaDainian Tomlinson, Mathews has yet to play a full season due to a variety of injuries, missing 10 games over three campaigns.
"I got a lot of people just frustrated with my performance in the last few years," Mathews said. "They expected me to come in and do big things. And I expect myself to."
Mathews, who rushed for 707 yards and just one touchdown last season, also realizes the expectations placed upon him after the franchise let Tomlinson go.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to fill LT's shoes," Mathews said. "I was trying to live up to those expectations -- what he was doing in his prime, all the yards he's getting, all the touchdowns he's getting, just trying to live up to that. I knew I was the first-round pick, [the Chargers] moved up  spots and all that, and I was just trying to do more than what I should have been doing. I think I took all the fun out of it and stressed myself out over it."
Moving forward, Mathews has a plan as he attempts to silence his critics.
"I'm just gonna be myself," he said. "In practice, I'm just trying to focus on what I do. I'm not trying to focus on what would [Tomlinson] do? I'm just gonna go back to like I was playing at Fresno State -- just running the ball, catching the ball and scoring touchdowns."