Jordan Matthews is typically a mainstay at the Novacare Complex, the Eagles home base during the regular and offseason. But he was conspicuously off the field for much of the team's spring program and many contemplated it was more than a nagging knee injury.
With his contract set to expire after the 2017 season and his name the subject of trade rumors on and off leading into the NFL draft, many thought Matthews was unhappy with his rookie contract — eyeing other Eagles' players who have received big contract extensions.
Afterall, Matthews returns to the Eagles as their top receiver in terms of catches and yards over the last two seasons.
But with stiff competition to stay on the field coming from all sides as the Birds inked Torrey Smith and Alshon Jeffery a few months ago, it would make sense for the fourth-year player to be unhappy.
Perhaps the writers of articles saying Matthews wanted a new contract simply don't know the man himself. Just ask him.
"I would literally never do that," Matthews said after practice Thursday in no uncertain terms. "You guys know me, from the time I have been here and I go to work. This is a privilege to be able to go to work regardless. Any time I can come out here and play I do that. I believe anytime you go to work you will see the fruits of your labor pay off."
Matthews had knee and ankle issues throughout the 2016 season but he worked his way through them. When his knee was feeling a bit off in the spring it was deemed the smart choice to take things easy.
"We are going to monitor it but it is full go with him and we will go forward with that," Eagles head coach Doug Pederson said.
In practice for the first time, Matthews caught a deep ball from Carson Wentz in the end zone who said of the play — and of Matthews' health — afterwards: "I thought he looked like the same old Jordan Matthews."
What does Matthews want his next contract to look like? He's confident in letting that simply take care of itself.
"I hope you guys know me by now, that's not what motivates me or drives me," Matthews said. "I grew up and my parents were affluent. I never needed anything... when I play football I play football for respect thats all I play for."