WINNIPEG — It seems the Blue Bombers have finally found a much-needed answer at receiver.
While Darvin Adams has emerged as one of the league’s most explosive receiving threats, a complementary threat has been high on the Bombers’ wish list for a while now.
Chris Matthews, a former Most Outstanding Rookie, serves that purpose and more.
“If I use an NFL comparable, I use Michael Irvin or Dez Bryant, because they’re similar,” CFL.ca’s Davis Sanchez said this week on The Waggle presented by Sport Clips.
“You know when you’re in the pool with your little cousins and you’re playing 500 and they’re throwing the ball up and your little cousin’s climbing up on your arm and trying to grab you, but when the ball comes, you just shove him out of the way and grab the ball? Chris Matthews can do that.
“No matter what he can mush you out of the way and go get the ball with his big strong hands.”
The entire podcast can be heard below:
The Waggle, Ep. 158: Take a bow, Ricky Ray
Another CFL coach departs for the XFL, Ricky Ray calls it a career on his own terms, Solomon Elimimian lands in Riderville, Winnipeg snags Chris Matthews, and Davis recounts a Raptors win for the ages.
EPISODE RUNDOWN: June Jones departs for the XFL (0:00); Ricky Ray calls it a career (7:16); What does Elimimian bring to the Riders? (17:11); Matthews touches down in Winnipeg (22:16); Davis recounts an iconic moment in sports (26:20).
After a long, winding road throughout his professional football career, Matthews may finally have a permanent home in Winnipeg. The 29-year-old signed a three-year contract last week to return to the city his football career began, where he was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie in 2012 after a near-1,200-yard campaign.
During a four-year NFL career with the Seattle Seahawks and Baltimore Ravens, Matthews played in a Super Bowl and may have even been named MVP if not for a now-infamous late-game interception by Russell Wilson.
The 6-foot-5, 228-pound giant returned to the CFL last season when he helped the Calgary Stampeders win the 106th Grey Cup, joining an injured receiving corps and posting four catches for 59 yards in the championship.
“He also does it in big games, which is why I like this for Winnipeg,” said Donnovan Bennett. “Do they have the guy to really trust in the playoffs? He’s that guy. In the Super Bowl he went for four catches, 109 against the Patriots. He is leveraging those big moments.”
Receiver was listed as a top priority for the Bombers this off-season, but the team swung and missed on a crop of top names that included Derel Walker, Greg Ellingson and DaVaris Daniels, among others.
In the end, the Bombers get a multi-year commitment from a receiver with a unique skill-set. Matthews’ physicality is unparalleled in the three-down game and adds some much-needed diversity alongside speed threats like Adams and Canadian Nic Demski.
“He’s not a massive separator when I watch him, but he’s a guy that makes plays in tight quarters and I think that’s a skill-set that will help,” said Sanchez. “When you look at what the Bombers already have I would consider that a need.”