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Clay Matthews ready for new chapter with Rams

IRVINE, Calif. -- Clay Matthews has lived in two places for his entire life -- Southern California and Wisconsin.

So while he was a Packer for the first 10 years of his career, his move to the Rams isn't unfamiliar territory.

Matthews, 33, grew up just north of Los Angeles in Ventura County, then followed his father and uncle's path to play football at the University of Southern California.

Being drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2009 was a breath of fresh (albeit, cold) air, but he's finally found his way home.

"Definitely feels like this is the way (my career) should continue," Matthews said after practice Monday. "When it was known that things weren't going to work out in Green Bay, I told my agent that one of the teams I wanted to look at was the Rams. Fortunately, we were able to make it happen."

While the six-time Pro Bowler might know the area, 2019 will be the first full season of his career not playing for Mike McCarthy. Dom Capers served as his defensive coordinator in his first nine seasons, too.

"One of the things you don't really understand (until it happens) is that when you go to a new team, you have to prove yourself all over again," Matthews said. "That's the spirit of football -- the competition. So to come out here with a new coaching staff and new players and media and fans, you have to prove yourself."

Eric Weddle, Matthews' new teammate in L.A., knows the feeling. He left the Chargers for the Ravens in 2016 after nine seasons in San Diego, then made three straight Pro Bowls with Baltimore after missing it the year prior.

Matthews also cited DeMarcus Ware and Julius Peppers -- who left organizations after many years and emerged as strong veteran leaders -- as players he wants to emulate in his new role. Ware, who moved from Dallas to Denver in 2014, also had Wade Phillips as his new defensive coordinator.

As you might remember, the Broncos won Super Bowl 50 with Ware and Phillips. Matthews won a Super Bowl during his second season in the NFL, a year he was also named first-team All-Pro.

"Anybody that's played as much as he has and had that amount of success -- being in a big-time organization and being a world champion -- that's always someone you can learn from," Rams coach Sean McVay said. "He's a guy that, whether it's with myself or with his teammates, he's come in and he's worked the right way."

Matthews -- along with Aaron Donald, Michael Brockers, Aqib Talib, Eric Weddle and Andrew Whitworth -- sat out practice Monday. It's all part of the Rams' plan to limit veterans throughout camp so they can remain healthy into the playoffs.

"When you see these guys (at practice) that have worked and produced at such a high level, you see why they've been able to do it," McVay said. "That's the same with Clay. He's done a great job so far and we're counting on big things from Clay Matthews."

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