Wide receiver Jordan Matthews says that “two really bad diagnoses” by the Philadelphia Eagles’ medical staff prior to his trade to the Buffalo Bills last August resulted in lingering knee and ankle damage that wasn’t properly addressed until he underwent surgery in December. He lauded the Bills doctors for catching the mistakes in a radio interview.
Matthews’ 2017 campaign with the Bills was a forgettable one. His 282 receiving yards and lone touchdown on 25 receptions was by far the worst output of any of his four seasons in the NFL. He played in just 10 games (seven starts), and dealt with thumb and chest injuries as well before being shut down in Week 14 with his ailing knee.
“I think the worst and most frustrating thing about the whole situation was, when I got to Buffalo, I was still dealing with the things that I had to get surgery on,” Matthews told SiriusXM NFL Radio (as transcribed by The Buffalo News). “But I had two really bad diagnoses on the knee and the ankle, so going into the trade, I thought they were both things that were going to heal on their own. But once I got around Buffalo’s doctors, they got me in touch with the right people and then I got really good feedback.”
“We ended up finding out there were other things that I was dealing with, so the thumb was definitely upsetting, the chest was upsetting. But what’s crazy was when they ended up doing my surgery on my knee, they actually told me that, ‘Man, it’s a good thing that you didn’t play more games, you didn’t practice more, because you needed to come here and get this procedure done as soon as possible.’ So, if anything, it was a blessing in disguise. I don’t regret any of the times that happen. I think it honestly has just made me a stronger person, it’s going to make me a better player.”
Matthews, who’s set to become a free agent come Mar. 14, failed to capitalize on a solid opportunity last season in Buffalo to potentially earn a big contract on the open market. With former Bill Sammy Watkins having been dealt to the Los Angeles Rams on the same day Matthews was acquired, as well as the Buffalo parting ways with their other two best wide receiver options from 2016, Matthews was set up to be the best the Bills had at the position last season, at least until Kelvin Benjamin was acquired at the trade deadline.
“It didn’t kind of work out exactly how we wanted to,” he said. “And I think, honestly, where I was going into free agency, especially because I had to go into free agency, everybody more so with me was like, ‘Let’s kind of just see what happens.’ They, just like everybody else around the league, wants to see the nature of my injury and how I come back and how I rehab. And I think they also want to see what happens on the open market, because there’s a bunch of other receivers that are coming out right now that are going to be free agents that they might see if they can fit into their system, too.”
”I definitely think people will go back, once they see that I’m healthy, they’ll go back and watch those films. They’ll see, ‘OK, this guy was a productive receiver.’ I’m always working, I’m always trying to better myself. And then I know that I was trending toward being a No. 1 option for a team, but then just the injuries and some of these situations that have happened have kind of derailed that a little bit.”
Is it possible that Matthews showed enough last season for the Bills, who are seriously lacking at the wide receiver position outside of Benjamin? Sure, but the move doesn’t seem likely given the four-year, $30 million contract we projected he’ll fetch on the open market.