Chargers using Mattos as a spy?

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Grant Mattos has been defying the odds since Pete Carroll first laid eyes on him and offered him a scholarship. Now he is gearing up for another season of battles. He has spent part of the offseason catching passes for Ben Roethlisberger in Orange County. Could it be the Chargers are using him as a spy?

"I have been catching a few balls from Ben," Grant Mattos said. "I am training in Orange County and he is throwing in Orange County so I am trying to get some work in and run some routes."

Apparently, it has nothing to do with Mattos being a spy and speaks more of the considerable effort Mattos put in each day.

But the question remains, what advice can Mattos give him and what kind of person is Roethlisberger?

"I think Ben is a pretty good guy – solid guy. He will do well wherever he ends up. There is not really too much (to tell him) and we don't talk too much about football. Just trying to get to know each other."

A precursor to his selection by the San Diego Chargers?

Not necessarily. They both have the same agent and it is a matter of convenience that has put them together. Mattos is simply continuing his season and the hard work that he puts in now will benefit him down the road as inevitably someone else will be pining for his job.

David Boston has been replaced by Kevin Dyson. The other wide receivers have proved to be inconsistent in either staying on the field or catching the ball. Is that a door that Mattos sees open?

"I am not sure about that," Mattos says honestly. "I am just going to keep doing what I have been doing, working hard and hopefully I will find a place."

Mattos first started getting noticed in training camp. He was a little known name that many had cast aside as training camp fodder. Then he proved everyone wrong.

Maybe it was his strong support group that helped propel him to the practice squad to start 2003. In Carson, when Mattos was making catch after catch, he would always have friends and family in the crowd. The "oohs" and "aahs" weren't just them, however, as Mattos was sure handed, making the tough grab against first and second rounders.

"The good thing about being in Carson is I have a lot of family and friends who could come and watch," Mattos said. "It is always good to see a familiar face in camp."

After camp, Mattos became known as the touchdown maker in preseason, catching the first two touchdowns scored through the air. That is when fans started to also take notice.

Added to the practice squad prior to the start of the season was his reward. Two weeks later, Mattos was added to the active roster, replacing cornerback Tay Cody who was released.

Mattos, when active on game days, spent most of his time on special teams. He added two tackles. He did get more time at wide receiver towards the end of the year, but was rarely thrown to.

"It was a lifetime experience," Mattos admits, barely able to hold his enthusiasm. "It was great. It is every kids dream to play in the NFL and I was just having a great time. It was a lot of fun and felt like a lot of hard work paid off, now you are actually getting a chance to play."

And how about the future for Mattos? It is the same thing the coaching staff told him at the end of the season:

"To continue to work hard and good things will happen."

Denis Savage can be reached at

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