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The Big Interview: DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews, Part 1

Aug 10, 2012, 5:45 PM EDT


OTB was lucky enough to talk with NFL Pro Bowl linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Clay Matthews on their tour to support the adult underwear Depends. We don’t know why either, but enjoy.

OTB: You guys are supposed to be rivals but how are you supposed to build up a rivalry if you never see each other at the same time on the field?

Clay: I don’t think there’s much of a rivalry besides from the fact that we’re after the same common goal, selfishly: to get more sacks than the other guy.

(everybody laughs)

Nah, I think we have a level of respect for one another. I look up to DeMarcus and ask him for advice and I think likewise, and it developed into a friendship.

You both are outside linebackers who rush off the edge, which was basically created by Lawrence Taylor. Is he a big role model for you guys?

DeMarcus: We always look up to guys who’ve done it before, like Willie McGinest and Lawrence. He really revolutionized the game when you start talking about the standup linebacker. We do the same thing a DE does except we do it standing up.

Clay: I agree with him. It’s a very unique position that LT really revolutionized. Offenses really have to take into account a guy who can rush off the edge and drop into coverage and do a multitude of things. It takes a special athlete to play the position. It’s really fun, the amount of versatility and freedom we have.

When you’re rushing off the edge and you’ve realized the quarterback thinks you’re in coverage and you’re coming off unblocked, is that one of the greatest feelings?

DeMarcus: You know what, the crazy thing is, there isn’t that many times that we come unblocked because they usually account for us so when it does happen we have to be hesitant because it feels like a trap.

Clay: I think DeMarcus was being easy when he said they ‘account for us’ because there’s usually two or three guys setting out for us (laughs). But yeah, like I mentioned, they have to take you into account because of what you’re capable of doing and you hope that the quarterback is still holding onto the ball when you turn that corner.

Clay, your brother is also in the NFL but he’s not an edge rusher like you are. Do you throw him tips, or do you prefer to keep your secrets private because he’s in the same conference?

I’m always helping him out. he’s been training with me in the offseason, putting on some size. I’m helping him out in any way that I can. I think following in my footsteps will definitely help out. He’s coming along, he’s doing well. There’s always rookie growing pains but he’s doing well, and enjoying it.

DeMarcus, you guys are some of the biggest guys in the game. Any fear you’re going to LT on Joey Theismann someone and end a career with one of your hits? A hit so hard their head falls off?

DeMarcus: Nah, you’re gonna hit guys as hard as you can. You’re gonna go full speed. Whatever happens happens. If their head falls off their head falls off, you know? Haha!

Clay: Naw, they know that they signed up for. I think we’re just as likely to get hurt as much as everyone else. I play the game with no fear, close to the reckless side and hope that at the end of the day you can walk off the field. If you’re thinking about injuries anywhere along the line you’re probably going to get one.

Brian Dawkins once said when you’re on the football field, you can’t think, you just have to DO. How did you guys develop this mindset? Clay, you were born into a football family, did you just pop out of the womb and start hitting people?

Clay: Fortunately for me I was raised in that family and understood, even beyond the fact, the idea of ‘football IQ’, that it’s a business and what a team is and what the NFL shield represents, and what I’m capable of doing and what I should be doing every day. Not only on Sundays, but how I conduct myself being a pro athlete. It’s definitely helped out. But now, in the grand stage of our careers being in the NFL, we know what we need to accomplish and how we should be conducting ourselves.

DeMarcus: Well I played my 9th grade year, didn’t play my 10th grade year and played my 11th and 12th grade year. It took awhile to understand the model, ‘kill or be killed’. But once I started understanding the concept I applied it to the game. And it worked.

Why’d you start playing so late? What was your sport of choice?

DeMarcus: I was more of a baseball guy. I couldn’t hit that well but everything else I was pretty good. I played pitcher and right field. And then I had the opportunity to play football and, well, it’s my career now.

I think you made the right choice.

I think so too.