The passing of Clay Matthews Sr. has made people remember how influential the former San Francisco 49ers star was in helping to create NFL players. He started a long lineage of football stars. His son Bruce and Clay Jr. are part of that athletic NFL family tree that keeps on tackling. Jake Matthews is currently on the Atlanta Falcons. Kevin played for a variety of teams, such as the Carolina Panthers. Casey Matthews signed with the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings. Then, there is Clay Mathews III, who is a linebacker for the Green Bay Packers.

How will the passing of a man who shared his name affect his 2017 season?

A sacker with no mercy

Besides his long blonde hair, Clay Matthews III is known for his aggressive playing style and ability to sack the quarterback. In his 8 years with the Packers, he has 72.5 sacks. His season high sack total was in 2010, where he racked up 13.5 sacks. His tackling is even more impressive. Matthews has almost 400 tackles, which averages to about 50 tackles per season. That shows consistency and a hard work ethic. With the team losing strong defensive players this year in free agency, such as Micah Hyde, Matthews has an even greater role to play in 2017. Hopefully, the linebacker can draw inspiration from his grandfather and maintain his energetic, competitive edge.

Honoring a legend with his play

The NFL has displayed many instances where a recent loss of a family member increases an NFL player’s performance, including former Packer Brett Favre. On December 21, 2003, Favre’s father passed away. The quarterback decided that he was still going to play in the next day’s Monday night game against the Oakland Raiders.

The quarterback led his team to 4 touchdowns and over 300 yards. Favre ended the game with a 158.3 passer rating and said that he felt his father was with him. When Clay Matthews III takes the field for his first game in 2017, can he emulate Favre’s example and honor his late grandfather with a stellar performance? Perhaps, a 4-sack day is in the linebacker’s future during Green Bay’s Week One showing.

Rest in peace, Clay Matthews Sr.