Clay Matthews to take it easy in Packers' OTAs


Clay Matthews' 2013 season ended with him standing on the sidelines as the Green Bay Packers fell to the San Francisco 49ers in the playoffs.

The outside linebacker expects the Packers' 2014 offseason to begin with him mostly watching organized team activities.

"Obviously, OTAs will probably be one thing," Matthews told USA Today's Tom Pelissero. "I can't imagine I'll be too heavily involved with some of the stuff. I'm sure I can do stuff here and there. But yeah, we risked it once, and unfortunately, it didn't pay off."

Matthews is coming off two separate surgeries on a broken thumb that cost him six games, including the playoffs.

The 27-year-old missed four games in the middle of the season before returning with a cast. Matthews admitted he struggled when he returned.

"Quite honestly, I clubbed it up, and I was just a number out there, because we didn't have enough people to suit up (against) Philly," he said. "By far my worst professional game, but there was a legitimate excuse."

As he was rounding back into form, Matthews banged the thumb again and was forced to miss the Packers' final two contests.

Matthews, who has 50 sacks through five NFL seasons, said he expects to be full-go by the time training camp opens in July. With the addition of Julius Peppers, Matthews also anticipates fewer double-teams next season.

"They're going to double the big guy, and that leaves plenty of opportunities for me," he said. "I haven't had too many one-on-one opportunities, and when you do, you're expected to win -- at least in our locker room -- the majority of the time, because that's supposed to be a mismatch."

The latest edition of the "Around The League Podcast" covers the Aldon Smith arrest and analyzes the offseason movers and shakers in the NFC East and NFC South.