It was one thing for Chargers running back Ryan Mathews to talk about his own problems last week on NFL Network, attributing his injuries to bad luck and too much contact.
But when he spoke on larger team issues, and said they were “just complacent,” at times under coach Norv Turner, that drew the attention of his teammates and pointed to larger issues.
Issues which, on the first day of the offseason program of new coach Mike McCoy and new general manager Tom Telesco, they’d have preferred to not address.
Linebacker Donald Butler replied “Not at all,” when asked if Mathews spoke for the entire locker room.
“I just wish he would have spoken for himself,” Butler said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “That’s all. Just speak for yourself. Don’t make generalized statements like that about the whole team. . . .
“I haven’t got a chance to talk to him, but I’m sure he knows that. It is what is. Just speak on yourself, and that’s it.”
Likewise, center Nick Hardwick, who is entering his 10th year with the team, tried to separate himself from his running back’s remarks.
“Just from my own personal standpoint, I throw up before every game,” Hardwick said. “I know what kind of work it’s going to take to even get through a game, let alone to win a game. There is a ton of work that’s involved in every single game, and you go throughout the week that very same way.
“You need to know exactly what you’re doing. Spend a ton of time in those meeting rooms, dialing it in, getting prepared because you know on the weekend, at some point, [stuff] is going to hit the fan, and you’d better know what the heck is going on.”
While working under a new administration will allow Mathews to move past this one at some point, he clearly hurt some feelings. While the easiest thing to do in the NFL is blame all the problems on the fired guy or guys, the ones that remained got painted with his broad brush too.