Why did that receiver catching passes from Trey Lance look so familiar?
Because he once caught a couple hundred passes in an Eagles uniform.
One of the wide receivers running patterns at Lance’s second pro day Monday in Fargo was none other than Jordan Matthews, the Eagles’ 2nd-round pick in 2014.
There was no media at the workout, but North Dakota State’s football office tweeted out video of Matthews catching a pass from Lance.
What was Matthews doing catching passes at Lance’s pro day? That’s a very good question.
The most obvious theory is the Kyle Shanahan connection. Shanahan, Matthews' coach parts of the last two years with the 49ers, was "extremely involved" in designing Lance's workout, according to ESPN’s Dan Graziano.
Matthews, who’s had three stints with the Eagles, has had six separate stints with the 49ers over the last couple years, including two games late last season.
If Shanahan was looking for an unemployed wide receiver who knows the 49ers’ offense and would be comfortable running plays that Shanahan designed, Matthews would be a perfect candidate.
And maybe Shanahan also wanted to give Matthews the chance to showcase himself at an event in front of numerous NFL coaches and scouts.
There’s also the Carson Wentz connection. Matthews and Wentz, who were teammates in 2016, remain very close, and Wentz and Lance, although they didn’t overlap at North Dakota State, are also close.
In a way, it’s not surprising to see Matthews showing up when you least expect it because he’s had one of the most unusual careers of any Eagles draft pick.
Three years into his career, he had 225 catches – 10th-most in NFL history by any player after his first three seasons – for 2,673 yards and 19 touchdowns. He had more catches, yards and TDs than Davante Adams and Allen Robinson, also taken in that draft.
But since the Eagles traded him to the Bills for Ronald Darby before the 2017 season, he’s had a disastrous injury-plagued season with the Bills, was signed and released by the Patriots without playing a game, returned briefly to the Eagles and caught a touchdown in the playoff loss to the Saints, went from the 49ers to the Eagles to the 49ers in 2019 and then briefly reappeared with the 49ers last year.
He’s the first player in NFL history to catch more than 200 passes in his first three years and fewer than 50 his next three years.
Matthews is only 28 and he looks healthy and fit in the North Dakota State video, so who knows? Maybe this will lead to another NFL opportunity for Matthews.
Hey, the Eagles need receivers last we checked.
Subscribe to the Eagle Eye podcast: