Press Conference Transcript - B.J. Raji & Clay Matthews - April 30

Read the transcript of the press conference featuring first-round draft picks B.J. Raji and Clay Matthews on Thursday from Lambeau Field.

(What's your initial impression of Green Bay? How much of Lambeau Field have you seen so far?)

Matthews: It's definitely a change from Southern California, I can say that. But it will be a definite change of pace that I'm looking forward to. I got to see Lambeau Field a little bit, not the field quite yet, but it looks like quite a prestigious place to play. Speaking on behalf of both of us, we're both happy to be here and start contributing to this historic program.

Raji: As for me, I'm a city guy. Born and raised in New York City, I lived in New Jersey. It's a little slower lifestyle, which I'm sure I'll get accustomed to.

(When did you get here? What has your day consisted of so far? Anything exciting?)

Matthews: I got in about two hours ago, maybe around 1 to 2, and we've just been doing administrative stuff. Just getting our medical history taken care of, helmets sized up, gloves, shoes, just getting ready for this minicamp.

Raji: I got here around 1, went to the hotel, dropped my bags off and right over here I shot.

(Do either of you know anybody on this team?)

Raji: We're with the same agency, Athletes First, so we know Aaron Rodgers, because he's with that same agency.

Matthews: Brian Brohm.

Raji: Yup, as well. And Will Blackmon, a teammate of mine at Boston College. That's pretty much it, though.

(You guys know each other, too? Is it nice to come in together like this?)

Matthews: I had the privilege of working out with B.J., and a couple other athletes like Donald Brown, Eric Wood, Pat White, so we definitely got a head start in the training process. Working with B.J., you find out what type of guy he is, and he pushes you day in and day out. So I was real excited, not only being represented by the same agency, but the type of guy that he is. He gave me a call right after I was drafted, and we shared celebrations, and we were just looking forward to coming out here and meeting up once again.

Raji: Same with me, man. When I found out Clay got drafted, I was so happy I actually called him, congratulated him. I know how hard he worked, what type of guy he is. He's a great guy to be around and a teammate.

(Are you guys like kids at Christmas, ready to take that first step onto a pro football field?)

Matthews: I'm real giddy to get going. It's been four months of just training and rumors and mock drafts and this and that, so it's nice to put that all behind us. But with all that behind us now comes a different set of pressure, so I think we are like some kids in a candy store. We're ready to get going and start making a name for ourselves.

Raji: Yeah, it's real exciting, playing in such a prestigious organization like the Packers. It's something you only dream about. When I got the call, I was shocked that the day has finally come. I know a lot is expected of me, and I'm willing to work to get where I need to be to help this team win.

(When you found out what team drafted you, did you do any research on the roster? What did you do next?)

Raji: For me, the rest of that day, I was kind of still in shock. I had a house full of people I had to entertain, sign a bunch of autographs and all this kind of stuff. But Sunday I actually sat back, went up on the Packers website, and got a chance to get a feel for the organization. I actually went on Wikipedia and looked up Green Bay to see what it was like, find some interesting facts about it. So it was good.

Matthews: I did the same thing. First I looked where Green Bay was on the map, to find out where I would be for the next couple years. After that I went to Wikipedia, started looking up the coaches, looking at their backgrounds and what-not, and just finding ways to familiarize myself with the team so that when I came in here it wasn't such a shock. After the last city, it is obviously, but at the same time I think we're that much more prepared.

(Clay, what have your father and uncle said about the Packers organization?)

Matthews: Just that it's a terrific organization. My uncle now works for the Texans, and he was kind of upset that I didn't land with him. But at the same time, when he had heard I went to the Packers, he couldn't think of a better program to fall into, especially with the new 3-4 defense that we're implementing here and my style of play, I think it fits perfectly here. Obviously with such a historic, ... everything about this program really I think it speaks for itself. They're excited. My uncle was able to play with Ted Thompson. 'Red' man our strength coach, actually he worked my dad out back in Cleveland. So there's a lot of ties here with my family and I'm looking forward to it.

(B.J., what sort of personal goals do you have for your time here?)

Raji: To be honest, actually I was talking with the D-line coach today, and we were talking about where I'd be playing. I'll be playing some nose tackle, some defensive end. As far as goals, I just want to come in, and the big thing for me is getting a grasp of the defense, understanding what the defense asks me to do, and try to do that. And if I'm ready opening day to start, obviously I would love to have that opportunity. But if I'm not, I'm willing to do whatever I need to do as far as getting this team ready to win some games.

(Clay, same question to you.)

Matthews: Yeah, my expectations are to just come in here and give it all that I've got really. If that's enough to be coming out like B.J. said on Day 1 and be a starter, then so be it. I'm looking forward to that opportunity. I'm going to come out here and compete and I'm going to give everything I've got. Like I said, if I can get on the field early and often, I'd love that.

(You've said you're familiar with each other and you trained together. Did you compare your paths to Green Bay?)

Raji: I would say we're similar because we actually had to earn everything we've got. Some guys come out of high school with the luxury of being all-American this, all-American that. Clay and myself, we had to actually work to get to our positions, and that's more gratifying for me, and I'm sure it is for him, to know how hard you've worked to get to this point.

Matthews: That's one of the things I think that they drafted us for is the type of character that we are and how we work hard for everything and how we haven't been handed everything. We're go-getters and that's what we plan on doing here is getting after it.

(B.J., you mentioned playing defensive end. Did it surprise you when you heard that from the coaches?)

Raji: Honestly, it was a bit of a surprise. I played some five-technique position on defense in college. I stressed that to the Packers when we had a little meeting at the combine. I talked to Coach there. He doesn't want me to be deemed as just a nose tackle. He wants me to play some nose and some defensive end. Actually this week at mini-camp I'm going to be doing a little bit of that.

(Clay, how similar was your linebacker/end spot at USC to here?)

Matthews: I think it's real similar. At SC we ran a 4-3, however it had the principles of a 3-4 being that I was playing a standup d-end, or elephant as we called it. I was able to rush the passer a little bit more, drop into coverage, just provide a little more versatility to the game. I think now that I am in a true 3-4 system, now I can just use the skills that I learned at SC and just continue to develop them.

(When you were researching on the internet, did you look at the depth charts to see who you'd be competing with?)

Raji: To be honest with you, I do not do that but I was told today by several coaches, including Coach Capers, that me and Clay are very fortunate in the fact that the defense and the system is new to everybody, so we're not like two or three years behind guys. We have the same opportunity as they do. They might have a few months on us being that the coaches have been here a little while, but as far as being at a disadvantage, we're not at that, so I feel that is a good thing for myself and Clay.

(How important is it to come in and contribute right away given the change in defenses and the positions you play?)

Raji: I believe that attitude is the altitude. Knowing Clay, I know that he has a workman mentality, as well as myself. The fact that we are both first-rounders, that doesn't change who we are as people. Nothing is going to change about us, not our approach to the game, not our work ethic. I kind of feel that is great for us to be in this position as first-round draft picks, but at the end of the day we know we have to work and earn our keep so to speak.

Matthews: There is definitely added pressure just from being a first-rounder and the expectations that you have, but I think it's nothing that we haven't experienced in our college career. Like B.J. said earlier, we had to work for everything, so the pressure that we put on ourselves I think is moreso than anything the media or coaches put on us, and I think that's the pressure to be successful and be the best. I think that's what we're going to come here and do is just play to our ability.

(Clay, are you ready for the Kevin Greene experience?)

Matthews: You know what, I got to talk to him the night after the draft and he let me know what he wanted me to take care of and accomplish. He seems like a real fierce guy. I obviously admire the way he played back in the day. I'm really looking forward to it. Everyone I've talked to says he is a heck of a coach and you're going to get coached up. By doing so, you should be a heck of a player. I'm just really looking forward to it. Like I said, just watching the way he played back in the day, he was ferocious and got after it and that's how I want to emulate my game.

(He's not shy about telling you what he expects. Are you prepared for that too?)

Matthews: Oh, absolutely. The fortunate thing, and I guess you could say unfortunate thing, is I was born into a football family so there have always been expectations of me. My parents and uncle and grandfather, everyone who has contributed in the NFL has let me know what they expect of me and what I need to accomplish. So it's nothing new and obviously I wouldn't expect anything less being at this level right now with everything that is on the line.

{sportsad300}(B.J., you talked about character and I've heard your high school coach talk about you. Do people have a misconception about you based on the positive test at BC and the wrong report on

Raji: To be completely honest, to a certain extent I believe they do. It's a shame, the positive test at BC, I'm a man and that was a mistake that I made in the past, which is the past. It's the present, but I kind of feel that what happened or what came about with Sports Illustrated, people that know me, they know that's not what I am about. But for people that never met me, when it's your first time hearing about me, that's the perception that they get. That was kind of the thing that bothered me with that and the fact that I knew that it wasn't true and I just had to wait the time out until the real results came out. At that time, only two doctors had the reports, and me and Clay actually had the opportunity to talk to the doctors, and they told me that everything was cool. You have to wait until the final results come out, and that is kind of where I am at with that.

(Clay, were you part of the other erroneous report?)

Matthews: Yeah, the same web site actually reported that B.J. had tested positive for recreational drugs and me and my other teammate, Brian Cushing, had tested positive for steroids, which is completely false. Unfortunately in years past people have had to just wait it out and let the smoke clear and at that time their name is damaged. No matter if you come out clean, people are going to think less of you as a person. So were fortunate enough to be able to call the head administrator for the drug test and he let us know, no, you didn't test positive. It was just a matter of shutting a guy down and letting people know the real story. It's unfortunate, but I guess we're in this position that we are today and it wouldn't be happening if we weren't in this position. You learn from it and you grow from it really.

(When you went to SC, were you 161 pounds?)

Matthews: No, that weight has been exaggerated tremendously. I want to set the record straight and say I was 228 coming into SC. After camp, around 220. I just worked hard. I'd love for the writer of that article to come see how I train and live a day in my shoes, and he can see how I put on this weight and what not. It was funny, I just heard the other day Aaron Curry was 195 at Wake Forest when he first checked in. People can put on weight. They work hard. It's not that hard provided you have a workman's mentality.

(You redshirted and were there a long time, so was it not just the weight room but you hit some growth spurts there too?)

Matthews: Yeah, absolutely. Fortunately and I guess unfortunately, Matthews are just late bloomers. The same with my dad and my uncle Bruce, we all going into college, we put on a tremendous amount of weight. It was just a little late in the recruiting process so you have to walk on here and there and make a name for yourself. That's what I had to do. You can talk to anyone at that program and they'll say I'm one of the hardest workers and I'm going to be in the weight room. Not just in the weight room, but on the practice field, watching film, game film, and they'll tell you the type of character that I possess.

(So what did you weigh your junior year when they wouldn't recruit you?)


(How tall were you?)

Probably around six-foot, six-one. Probably the only college guy to have actually grown in height too throughout college.

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