Jordan Matthews said Tuesday on Sirius NFL Radio that "two really bad diagnoses" by the Philadelphia Eagles' medical staff caused him to join the Buffalo Bills in a trade last August with lingering knee and ankle damage that wasn't surgically repaired until December.
And that was in addition to two other ailments that he developed last season: an injured thumb on which he underwent surgery in October and a chest injury.
"I think the worst and most frustrating thing about the whole situation was, when I got to Buffalo, I was still dealing with the things that I had to get surgery on," said Matthews, who was part of a deal that sent cornerback Ronald Darby to the Eagles. "But I had two really bad diagnoses on the knee and the ankle, so going into the trade, I thought they were both things that were going to heal on their own. But once I got around Buffalo's doctors, they got me in touch with the right people and then I got really good feedback.
"We ended up finding out there were other things that I was dealing with, so the thumb was definitely upsetting, the chest was upsetting. But what's crazy was when they ended up doing my surgery on my knee, they actually told me that, 'Man, it's a good thing that you didn't play more games, you didn't practice more, because you needed to come here and get this procedure done as soon as possible.' So, if anything, it was a blessing in disguise. I don't regret any of the times that happen. I think it honestly has just made me a stronger person, it's going to make me a better player."
Matthews was limited to 10 games and proved to be a non-factor for a team that never found the help at receiver it needed after trading away Sammy Watkins. Matthews caught only 25 passes for 282 yards and a touchdown.
"It didn't kind of work out exactly how we wanted to," he said. "And I think, honestly, where I was going into free agency, especially because I had to go into free agency, everybody more so with me was like, 'Let's kind of just see what happens.' They, just like everybody else around the league, wants to see the nature of my injury and how I come back and how I rehab. And I think they also want to see what happens on the open market, because there's a bunch of other receivers that are coming out right now that are going to be free agents that they might see if they can fit into their system, too.
"I definitely think people will go back, once they see that I'm healthy, they'll go back and watch those films. They'll see, 'OK, this guy was a productive receiver.' I'm always working, I'm always trying to better myself. And then I know that I was trending toward being a No. 1 option for a team, but then just the injuries and some of these situations that have happened have kind of derailed that a little bit."
Matthews recently married Cheyna Williams, a striker for the Washington Spirit pro soccer team, and said they are expecting their first child. In the meantime, he has been training in Pensacola, Fla.
Despite the struggles of last season, Matthews said there was plenty to like about his brief time with the Bills.
"I love Coach (Sean) McDermott, by the way," he said. "He's one of the most authentic coaches I've been around since I've been playing football, period. But also he has a very high level of awareness. He gets people. It's not that he just sees Xs and Os, but he actually understands the people in the locker room and I think that's what attributed to the success that we had in Buffalo."