Q&A With: Shane Matthews

The Redskins said they no longer wanted him. So quarterback Shane Matthews started to look elsewhere. But after a weekend watching Washington's four quarterbacks, the Redskins' front office decided they needed more help. And Matthews was finally signed. That's bad news for Dameyune Craig, who was released, and, perhaps this summer, Sage Rosenfels.

But Matthews, who signed a one-year deal for $750,000 and a $25,000 signing bonus, at least provides experience. He's started 15 games, all in the past three seasons, and has completed more than 60 percent of his passes with a career rating of 75.1. Here are his thoughts on his new team.

Q: How does it feel to finally be coming to Washington?

A: I'm excited and relieved. I really didn't know if it would happen, especially after the draft. We moved on. I was supposed to be in Cincinnati [Monday] and meet with the Texans later in the week and then I had other meetings set up. I was going to make a decision in late May. But I got a call today and everything worked out the way we wanted it too.

Q: How disappointing was it last week when nothing could be worked out?

A: It was definitely disappointing. Sometimes it's crazy, but it never works out the way you want it to. I just said maybe it wasn't meant for me to be in Washington. I had to move on. But I really wanted to play for the Redskins and coach Spurrier and things worked out. It was a no-brainer.

Q: Why did you want to play for Steve again?

A: This will be my 10th year in the league. I won't play a lot longer, maybe three or four more years. I remember one spring going from fifth string to being the starter and played three years. I wouldn't be where I am today if not for him. I plan on coming there and being the starter. If you look at the Redskins roster, they've got tremendous players. Especially defensively. It's important for the quarterback to play well and he knows I can bring that to the table.

Q: Why does this system fit you?

A: First of all, you have to be intelligent and make good, smart decisions and you have to be an accurate passer. A lot are smart, but can't hit the broad side of a barn. I'm a coach's son and I understand the game. You have to be a coach on the field because Steve gives you a lot of freedom. But he puts a lot on your shoulders as well. You have to have thick skin. The yelling and screaming never bothered me. He just gets you to play at a high level.

Q: This must be a fun system to play in for a quarterback.

A: He makes it fun to play for him. He's not one of these coaches who will grind long, hard hours. We're not on the field long. He's the coach out there, he gets his work done and goes home and has some fun. We practiced less than 80 percent of the colleges around the country. He's just a coach who teaches it very well. If you don't do it his way, you won't be around. He believes in his system. There's no doubt it will work at this level.

Q: Are you two alike?

A: We're a lot alike. No matter if it's golf or darts, the guy can't stand to lose. I can't stand to lose in anything either. I told everybody on the Bears that I felt I was the best athlete on the team. Everyone laughs at me. But I consider an athlete one who can excel in every sport. Not just one who can run fast and jump high. Steve is the same way. He hates to lose and he gets pissed off on the golf course when he loses.


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