Carroll acknowledges failing to recognize the potential of his former USC pupil as "one of the great mistakes" in his coaching career.
"Maybe because of the way he came up, it took him a long time to develop," Carroll explained, via the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "and didn't recognize the great heart that he had, and unbelievable competitiveness and the great savvy that he demonstrates now. It's really one of my big misses. I should have figured that out a lot sooner than I did. He made the rest of it history and been an extraordinary player ever since."
In Carroll's defense, Matthews was a late bloomer as a college walk-on who gained over 50 pounds from his high school career through his junior year at USC. Although Carroll viewed Matthews as one of USC's all-time great special teams players for three years, the four-time Pro Bowl selection didn't start at linebacker until his senior season.