PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles can't have Clay Matthews, so they drafted his brother.
Casey Matthews, a linebacker from Oregon, was Philadelphia's first pick in the fourth round of the NFL draft Saturday. His older brother tormented the Eagles as a member of the Green Bay Packers last year.
"Clay had some success against them," Matthews said. "At the conclusion of my visit when I was out there, Coach (Andy) Reid said, 'Tell your brother we're gonna get him next year with you on the team.' And I told Clay that. I don't think they have the Packers on the schedule, but hopefully we get them in the playoffs."
Clay Matthews was runner-up to Troy Polamalu for The Associated Press 2010 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. In Green Bay's season-opening victory at Philadelphia, he knocked quarterback Kevin Kolb out of the game with a concussion. That paved the way for Michael Vick's remarkable season. But Matthews and the Packers ended the Eagles' run with another victory in Philadelphia in a wild-card playoff game.
"Being his younger brother is great," Casey Matthews said. "To see his story, to see him go from a walk-on at USC to where he's at right now and see all the hard work, dedication and mental toughness that he had to put in, obviously I've looked up to him because of it. This offseason, I was fortunate to work out with him for the first time and it made me better as a player and a person."
The brothers come from a strong football background. Their father, Clay Matthews, Jr., played the third most games in NFL history (278) over 19 seasons as a linebacker for the Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons while earning four Pro Bowl selections. Their uncle, Bruce Matthews, was a Hall of Fame offensive linemen.
"It was a blessing to be a part of the family and all the football history that goes with it," Casey Matthews said. "Football wasn't forced on us. My parents wanted us to do whatever made us happy. As soon as we were old enough to sign up for football, that's what we did."
Casey Matthews, listed at 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds, played inside linebacker at Oregon. Scouts say athleticism is his biggest strength, he's intelligent and fundamentally sound.
The Eagles haven't had a playmaker at linebacker in years. They've shuttled several different starters at all three spots in recent seasons, so Matthews should compete for playing time right away.
Minutes after drafting Matthews, the Eagles selected Nebraska kicker Alex Henery with the 120th pick. Henery made 68 of 75 field goals (90.6 percent) at Nebraska, and he also punted.
His arrival could signal the end of David Akers' career in Philadelphia. Akers has been Philadelphia's kicker since 1999, but he's not under contract. Akers, a five-time Pro Bowl pick, including the last two years, was designated a transition tag.
The Eagles began the day by trading down, sending to Tampa Bay the 104th pick they received from Washington in the Donovan McNabb trade last year for the 116th pick used to select Matthews and a fourth in 2012.