The 49ers added a longtime fan to the roster on Thursday when they signed receiver Jordan Matthews.
The reason behind Matthews' 49ers fandom is pretty simple. Jerry Rice, the GOAT, is his cousin.
Matthews doesn’t remember his first visit California to see Rice play as a 49er, though. His first memory is attending a game when Rice played for the other Bay Area team.
Matthews remained loyal, and was adamant about wearing a 49ers hat while his brother donned Silver and Black at that Raiders-Broncos game.
Matthews hasn’t spoken to his Hall of Fame cousin since signing with his former team but is sure that it will happen sometime soon. He’s been too busy making transcontinental flights and meeting his new teammates and coaches. He revealed he hadn’t even spoken to his wife yet.
Matthews’ mother, Brenda, is cousins with Rice and ran track with him at B.L. Moor High School in Oktoc, Mississippi. The Matthews family resided in nearby Crawford. He describes it as 30 miles in the backwoods from Starkville, the home of Mississippi State.
Matthews, who went to Vanderbilt, did detail the advice that Rice imparted on him during the pre-draft process in 2014.
“The most we talked as far as advice wise was coming out for the draft,” Matthews said. “I got in touch and said, ‘Hey what’s the best advice you can give me going into the draft, the Combine, the Senior Bowl?’
“He said ‘Just everywhere you go, just tell yourself you’re the best person there. That you’re supposed to be there.’ And that’s what I did. I’ve done that. I can use that advice in Year Five. That’s why he’s obviously the GOAT.”
Matthews will no doubt be in contact with his cousin upon his return for the offseason program. And if he was invited to run the famous hill to train, would he be worried?
“I’m not worried about that,” Matthews said. “I would be excited about that.”