Matthews grew up a Jerry Rice Fan

Chris Matthews readily admits he sometimes hung around the wrong crowd as he was growing up in Los Angeles.

Chris Matthews readily admits he sometimes hung around the wrong crowd as he was growing up in Los Angeles.

"I would hang around the wrong crowd at times. But not all the time. At times I would stay away from that and my parents would watch over me and stuff. It wasn't too hard on me growing up," he said.

"I wouldn't say I was street wise. I have been through a lot of things just like everybody out here has. Just because you come from the suburbs doesn't mean you can't have the same amoung of problems as the guy from the streets."

Or that kids everywhere don't have the same dreams. Matthews played basketball, but he always had to work far harder on the hardwood than on the gridiron.

"Football comes naturally. Baksetball, I really had to work for," the UK junior receiver said. That's why he dreamed of playing in the NFL, not the NBA.

"That has always been a dream since I saw Jerry Rice play for the first time. When I was growing up I had a little Jerry Rice towel and everything. I was always dreaming of the pros. I thought I could play with Jerry Rice when I was younger. He would be the guy I would pretend to be," Matthews said.

Why Rice?

"I like the way he ran his routes and could catch the ball with his hands. He never really caught the ball with his body. He was always using his hands. That's what I try to do myself is catch the ball with my hands," Matthews said.

Perhaps that love of Rice is why Matthews doesn't mind the big expectations that have been placed on him to be the big-play receiver that UK desperately needs to go along with Randall Cobb.

" I really don't have no problem with it. When game time starts, I really tune everything out. I don't hear the crowd or anything. I have not been in a stadium with 80,000, but at same time I try to concentrate on what I have to do. If people expect a lot from me, that's fine because I expect a lot, too," he said.


AllWildcats Top Stories