Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson said that receiver Rishard Matthews came to him and asked for his release on Monday, after catching just one pass in last Sunday’s win in Jacksonville.
On Thursday, after sitting out practice on Wednesday, Matthews was officially let go by the Titans just five weeks after signing a one-year extension.
“I think it was his role and his use in his offense,” Robinson said. “I think he spoke to that last week, when you guys asked him. Not to put words in his mouth, but he reached out to me Monday and asked to be released or traded. We explored the trade option with several teams. I would say that market never really manifested itself to get a deal there.”
Robinson said he felt Matthews, whose had fallen behind Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe, was making his way back from injuries and could have helped the Titans, but that obviously the veteran receiver felt otherwise.
“He missed a lot of time with injuries. He was hampered in training camp. I thought he was coming back. He was working hard at practice, he was even running some scout teams when we had some guys down. He was practicing hard. I was looking to him getting back into what we’ve seen from him the last couple years on the field. He just felt that that wasn’t happening,” Robinson said. “I think Monday it had reached a point of no return for him. I told him several times that, ‘I know you can help this football team.’ I believed in him, that’s why we signed him a couple years ago. He’s been good for our football team the last couple years. He was just at a point where he couldn’t get over that.”
Robinson said he didn’t think that the players would view Matthews’ decision as quitting on the team.
“I’ve said this before, I love these guys here in this locker room. It’s a tight group of guys that believe in what we’re doing. Like I said, we talked about it. We addressed it with them. We’ve moved on,” Robinson said.
“Moved on” was the operative term with any number of Titans players in the locker room before Thursday’s work.
“Everybody has their own opinion, but at the end of the day, that’s my brother, and I wish him all the best,” Taylor said.
Linebacker Brian Orakpo added a similar sentiment.
"I’m disappointed it didn’t work out with him being one of our leading receivers. I definitely wish him the best, and nothing but support, whatever he’s going through, him and his family. No grudge or anything. I love Rishard. He’s a great teammate, a great competitor, and it just didn’t work out with him and the front office,” Orakpo said.
Linebacker Wesley Woodyard was asked about Matthews’ situation, as the latest distraction for team that has already lost tight end Delanie Walker, played through a seven-hour game and seen two quarterbacks injured in three games.
“Who cares? Every team goes through something.We’re the boys. We’re here working hard. It sucks that he’s gone or whatever happened,” Woodyard said. “I don’t know what happened in the background between him and the front office ro anything. But if you choose to walk away, we’ve got to move on and get better.”
After practice, Titans coach Mike Vrabel was asked about Matthews, but deferred to the remarks Robinson had made before practice.