December 9, 2012; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews (24) rushes the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers strong safety Troy Polamalu (43) defends on the play during the first quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Will the Real Ryan Mathews Please Stand Up?

Will the real Ryan Mathews please show up?

From the moment the Chargers drafted Mathews, I have been singing his praises. At Fresno State he averaged over six yards a carry over three years. The biggest change in Mathews is his ability to hold on to the football. In three years at Fresno State Mathews fumbled the ball zero times. In three years with the Chargers, Mathews fumbled twelve times with seven of them ending in turnovers.

Besides the turnovers, Mathews went form never being injured to showing up on the injury report twenty-five times in three years with the Chargers. It is unfair to compare a new running back to the Hall-of-Famer that came before him, but Mathews has numerously stated that he looks up to LaDainian Tomlinson on a number of occasions. Over a ten-year career, Tomlinson coughed the ball up a total of eight times and was on the injury report twenty-four times.

Mathews is breaking all of Tomlinson’s records. He is, unfortunately, breaking all of the wrong ones.

Matthews is a tough guy; he is a guy with a lot of heart. We should all continue to support a guy who was strong enough to endure living in a ’69 Oldsmobile during his first four months of life.

In order for Mathews to succeed in the NFL, he has to stop focusing on his black eye shield, tattoos, BMW, dyed hair, Vanilla Ice hairlines, and all his “swag.” If he wants to be successful in the NFL, he needs to start focusing on what made Tomlinson successful. Tomlinson stayed clear of the injury report and he held on to the rock. Mathews does those two things, and the Chargers’ will have an all-star running back for years to come. Because to quote Larry from Bull Durham, “This guy has some serious s@#%.” Mathews is a talented guy, but he needs to get his head screwed on right.

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