The Chargers had been waiting for running back Ryan Mathews to make it through an entire 16-game season since selecting him with the 12th pick of the 2010 draft and they finally got their wish in 2013.
Mathews played all 16 games, ran for 1,255 yards and kept his previous problems with fumbling under control as the Chargers advanced to the playoffs. The injury bug finally caught up to Mathews at that point and he was limited by a sprained ankle in the team’s two playoff contests, leaving him feeling like there’s unfinished business heading into the 2014 season.
“It was hard, not being able to finish the year out,” Mathews said, via ESPN.com. “Sixteen games is 16 games. I played a full season, but I didn’t really get to contribute in the games after the season — the real games when it really counts. That’s my expectation this season. I’ve got to do more and do better, so I can be there with my guys to be able to help them out as much as I can when we get there again.”
The Chargers brought in Donald Brown to go with Mathews and Danny Woodhead during the offseason, but they still talk about Mathews as the workhorse in the backfield this season. With his contract up after the season, his performance in that role will likely determine whether or not he’s back in San Diego for another one.