Green Bay Packers inside linebacker Clay Matthews called it a “great honor” to be voted by teammates as a playoff captain for the first time since 2012, though it doesn’t change his perspective inside the locker room.
It's only the second time Matthews has been voted as a playoff captain, but he's been a leader on defense for most of his career with the Packers. He exhibited a certain team-first attitude when he moved from outside linebacker to the less-glamorous role of inside linebacker last season. Matthews has played inside exclusively this season, earning a trip to the Pro Bowl.
Yes, the official title of captain carries some authority, but Matthews already demanded plenty of respect.
“I think every team needs to have leadership at this time of year,” Matthews said, “but I don’t think it comes from just the six captains that are selected. It’s obviously a great honor, but everybody needs to step up. Everybody needs to lead at their individual positions. It will be important, especially with the playoffs coming around, that the veterans, the guys that have been through it, especially that have been to the Super Bowl and won, take charge and let them know why we play those 16 games to get to this point on Sunday.
“Everybody has a voice on this team. Everybody is able to step up and say what they need to when they want to. But to be elected by your peers to be a captain on this team is a great honor, and I don’t take it lightly.”
Matthews and Julius Peppers were named the Packers’ two defensive captains this week. They are a fitting duo as the team enters its NFC wild-card game at Washington, likely the two defensive players who must carry the biggest responsibility for the Packers to advance far into the playoffs.
Peppers, in his second year as a playoff captain, said he appreciates the gesture from his teammates.
“It’s an honor to have these guys vote you,” Peppers said, “because it’s a sign of respect. It’s a sign of leadership. I love being voted a captain. It’s something to have that C.”
-firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @ByRyanWood