Falcons' Matthews honors family name in hometown Super Bowl

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Riding a fast track to the NFL's showcase game, Atlanta Falcons tackle Jake Matthews is proud to be representing his storied family in Sunday's Super Bowl in his hometown of Houston.

He is the son of Pro Football Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, nephew of former Pro Bowler Clay Matthews Jr., and cousin to current Green Bay Packers standout linebacker Clay Matthews III among other family members who have made it to the NFL.

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"I take a ton of pride in it. Playing on the peewee team, 'Oh hey, that's (Bruce) Matthews' kid, we have to expect a little more from him,'" the Falcons player told reporters on Tuesday at the Memorial City Mall ice rink that was melted down to accommodate the media event.

"I love the respect that comes with it. At the same time, it's a lot to live up to. We've always tried to do things the right way and try hard at what we do. I'm just following my dad's lead on that."

Matthews joined Atlanta as the sixth overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft out of Texas A&M and became an instant starter.

Three seasons later he is taking in the rarified air of the Super Bowl in a familiar setting.

"We drive around on the bus and I recognize everything. It's exciting and I get to do it in my hometown with my family."

Around Houston, Texas -- site of Super Bowl LI
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Around Houston, Texas -- site of Super Bowl LI
Houston, Texas
Jan 7, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Fans wait to enter NRG Stadium before the AFC Wild Card playoff football game between the Houston Texans and the Oakland Raiders. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Sam Houston Equestrian Statue, Houston, Texas, United States, this 40 foot bronze equestrian figure of Sam Houston is one of the most prominent features of Hermann Park. It was sculpted by Enrico Filiberto Cerracchio in 1925. (Photo by: MyLoupe/UIG via Getty Images)
Oct 11, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; General view as Houston Astros starting pitcher Dallas Keuchel (60) throws against Kansas City Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar (2) during the first inning in game three of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Houston, Texas, USA downtown city skyline.
Houston Downtown sunset modern skyscrapers at Texas US USA
Houston, TX, USA - April 12, 2016: Space Shuttle Independence and Shuttle Carrier Aircraft 905 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Texas, United States (Photo via Getty Images)
Harris County Courthouse in historic district of downtown Houston, Texas. (Photo via Getty Images)
Metro Train stopped at a platform to pick up passengers. (Photo via Getty Images)

Matthews and his linemates have played a big part in Atlanta's top-ranked offense, opening holes for the running backs and protecting quarterback Matt Ryan.

"He's such a good player, he's the MVP (of the league), no question in my mind. I take a lot of pride in blocking for him," Matthews said.

The tackle gave a lot of credit to center Alex Mack, who joined Atlanta this year after seven seasons with the Cleveland Browns.

"One of the biggest things he brings is the level of how we prepare for defenses," Matthews said. "I've never been around a guy who asks as many questions as he does.

"Nobody breaks down fronts and schemes and blitzes better than he does and it's really rubbed off on the rest of us. We all feel real confident going into games."

Matthews can hardly wait for the next test.

"Feeling humble, blessed in the moment and confident, too. Ready to get after it," he said. "I can't wait for the first snap."

Atlanta Falcons 2016 season (11-5 record)
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Atlanta Falcons 2016 season (11-5 record)

Week 1: Buccaneers 31, Falcons 24

(Photo via Getty Images)

Wek 2: Falcons 35, Raiders 28

(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)

Week 3: Falcons 45, Saints 32

(Photo by Tyler Kaufman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Week 4: Panthers 33, Falcons 48

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Week 5: Falcons 23, Broncos 16

(Photo by Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Week 6: Falcons 24, Seahawks 26

(Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)

NFC Divisional Round: Seahawks 20, Falcons 36

(Photo by John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports via Reuters)

Week 7: Chargers 33, Falcons 30 

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Week 8: Packers 32, Falcons 33

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Week 9: Falcons 43, Buccaneers 28

(Photo by Cliff Welch/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Week 11: Bye

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Week 10: Falcons 15, Eagles 24

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

Week 12: Cardinals 19, Falcons 38

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)

Week 13: Chiefs 29, Falcons 28

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Week 14: Falcons 42, Rams 14

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Week 15: 49ers 13, Falcons 41

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Week 17: Saints 32, Falcons 38

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Week 16: Falcons 33, Panthers 16

(Photo by Jim Dedmon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NFC Championship: Packers 21, Falcons 44

(Photo by David E. Klutho /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images)


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