I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity to play in New England this year. Of all the places I visited during free agency, I felt like this was the best place for me to grow — in multiple ways. The biggest deciding factor for me was to find a good team atmosphere. This is what has made me love to play football for so long, the relationships you build when you work together toward something great. There’s an added benefit when you know the place you are going will not only make you a better man on the field, but off it as well.
This really was a step of faith for me. I don’t know anyone well on this team. I was just telling my wife, Cheyna, that whatever situation makes me say, “Yikes! God, this is uncomfortable. This might be something that we can’t calculate in our own minds but I’m excited about it,” that’s when I know that this is from God. That was the biggest push for us. We needed to know this was God’s will for us.
With me being from Alabama and Cheyna being from Georgia, Boston is definitely uncharted waters for us. Growing up in Northern Alabama — in the Tennessee Valley area — I loved the Titans. I also closely followed the 49ers because my cousin, Jerry Rice, played for them. But when you’re choosing to sign with a team, you really have to go into the process with a certain amount of indifference. You never know who is going to call you, inviting you to visit their organization. It’s a period of waiting and trusting, but it’s a hard balance because you might be tempted to think everything revolves around you and this deal.
Everyone around you wants to ask who you’re going to sign with, but at the same time you know they are nervous to ask. I never like to push my situation or what I’m going through on other people. If people want to ask me, they can ask me. But it’s hard having no answers. When you finally do sign with a team, it’s a really good feeling. Suddenly there’s a huge weight lifted off your shoulders.
I don’t define myself by what I do, but I know that a large portion of the population — fans, media and even those who are close to us, though they might not mean any harm by it — do associate our success or career with who we (as professional athletes) are.
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” — 1 John 3:1
Probably the biggest new variable this season for me will be our new baby. I’ve never had a child while playing football before; it’s something you can’t really calculate the difficulty of. Learning the offensive playbook and collaborating with a new team is just part of my job. It’s what I do. But being a father is a whole new world for me.
I know the first day we bring our baby home from the hospital will be exciting and nerve-racking at the same time. While we know it’s going to be scary, we also know that this new life will bring us so much excitement and joy. I know however much time and energy I will expend on our child, I will gain so much more back from the joy of it all.
— Jordan Matthews, New England Patriots wide receiver
The Increase, part of the Sports Spectrum Network, is a community of Christian pro athletes sharing their personal stories of the decrease of self and the increase of Christ (John 3:30). Visit TheIncrease.com for more stories and videos.