Prized receiver Chris Matthews will play for Bombers against Eskimos

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will have prized receiver Chris Matthews in the lineup for their Week 3 game against the Edmonton Eskimos.

Matthews had been dealing with a lower body injury which caused him to miss Winnipeg’s Week 1 win in B.C. He signed a three-year contract with the Bombers in May. Matthews originally broke into the CFL with Winnipeg in 2012 and was named the CFL’s Most Outstanding Rookie that season.

“Well you’re hoping to see 10 touchdowns, but I don’t know if that’s going to happen,” head coach Mike O’Shea said with a laugh. “If there’s a 50-50 ball he’s going to contest it and come down with it. That’s what we expect, that’s what he expects.

The Calgary Stampeders released Matthews last December prior to CFL free agency in order to pursue NFL opportunities. Matthews signed with the Stamps in October, making 12 receptions for 252 yards and one touchdown in four regular season games adding seven grabs for 98 yards in two playoff contests including Calgary’s Grey Cup championship victory. He added playmaking ability to a Stamps receiving core that had been hit with a number of injuries.

“A lot of teams don’t have six-five, 230 receivers that can run and catch everything. Add another dynamic to this offence teams have to worry about,” Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols said.

The 29-year-old spent parts of 2015, 2016 and 2017 seasons in Baltimore with the Ravens. That came after a season and a half with the Seattle Seahawks. Matthews played in six games in 2017 for the Ravens making three grabs for 25 yards.

He’s suited up in 22 NFL games and recorded 16 receptions for 176 yards and one touchdown. Most notably Matthews caught four passes for 109 yards and one touchdown in Super Bowl XLIX, Seattle’s 28-24 loss to the New England Patriots.

Matthews earned those NFL shots after a stellar CFL rookie season in 2012, snagging 81 balls for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns for the Bombers. After going unselected out of the University of Kentucky in 2011, the Cleveland Browns signed Matthews as an undrafted free agent, but he was released among the final training camp cuts.

Winnipeg views Matthews as a strong compliment to Darvin Adams and provide a physical presence.

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