Last week, San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews made the mistake of saying some things on behalf of his team that could be viewed as criticism. During an appearance on “NFL AM,” Mathews said that he believed the Chargers got “complacent” under Norv Turner and may have taken winning for granted.
“I think he (Norv Turner) did everything he could to try to make us win, no doubt about it,” Mathews said. “I just think we really got complacent to where we were and what we were doing and thought we were owed to win games.”
Several of Mathews’ teammates took the comment personally, feeling that it was the fourth-year running back’s way of saying the team was not giving a full effort. On Monday, linebacker Donald Butler said he wishes Mathews would not have spoken for other people on the team.
“I just wish he would have spoken for himself,” Butler told U-T San Diego. “That’s all. Just speak for yourself. Don’t make generalized statements like that about the whole team. … I haven’t got a chance to talk to him, but I’m sure he knows that. It is what is. Just speak on yourself, and that’s it.”
Center Nick Hardwick agreed with Butler, providing a vivid description of how hard he worked before every game during San Diego’s disappointing 2012 season.
“Just from my own personal standpoint, I throw up before every game,” Hardwick said. “I know what kind of work it’s going to take to even get through a game, let alone to win a game.”
As Kevin Patra of Around the League pointed out, Mathews likely did not intend to insult his teammates or downplay their hard work. Instead, he was probably trying to make the point that firing Turner was the right thing to do and that it was time for a change. I’m sure he has learned a valuable lesson and will chose his words more carefully next time around.