(Excerpts from The San Diego Chargers web site: www.chargers.com
· Ryan Mathews
(6-0, 218) is a three-year running back in his third season with the
· Mathews made
quite an ascent from year one to year two of his NFL career, capping off a
1,500-yard season with an invitation to play in the 2012 Pro Bowl.
· Chosen by
teammates as the Chargers’ Offensive Player of the Year, Mathews rushed for
1,091 yards in 2011 and added 455 as a pass-catcher to become just the 14th
player in team history to top 1,500 total yards from scrimmage.
· Mathews is the
10th player in team history to top 1,000 yards rushing
· Mathews was the
Chargers' first-round pick in the '10 NFL Draft. As a rookie, he and
Tolbert became the only running back duo in franchise history to score at least
seven rushing touchdowns each, and they became the franchise's first rushing
duo to each top 600 yards since 1993.
MORE ON TRISH & RYAN
path to the NLF was a difficult one. He was raised by a single mother, Tricia,
who gave birth when she was just 16. With her own mother battling a drug
addiction, Tricia turned to relatives to find a place to stay and raise Ryan.
Unfortunately, Tricia ran out of options and ultimately settled on the
backseat of her 1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. Their story is both
heartbreaking and inspiring. After several months of iving in the car,
bathing and washing Ryan's clothes at a public park and feeding him from a
Riverside, California soup kitchen, Tricia foud a stable home with her
grandmother Glenna in nearby Tehachapi.
With a roof
over her head, Tricia found work while her grandmother looked after young Ryan.
Tricia worked up to three jobs a day to save money and support her
years of saving and living with Ryan’s grandmother, Tricia had saved enough
money to move them to Bakersfield, where Ryan enrolled at West High School. It
was there that Tricia landed a well-paying job, but one of the drawbacks was
that it included extensive travel. At the time, the Mathews household had grown
by one as Ryan’s best friend, Dante, had moved in with them to escape a home
rife with drug use. With Tricia away working, Ryan and Dante often had the
apartment to themselves and as a result, Ryan’s academics began a steady slide.
particularly bad following a 235-yard, six-touchdown performance by Mathews in
the league championship game his junior year. With a D-average and on the verge
of being ineligible for his senior year, Mathews was challenged by both his
mother and Fresno State Head Coach Pat Hill. It was a crossroads for the
budding star. His mother’s plea carried the most weight as she reminded him of
the sacrifices she made to raise him and it had a profound effect. Mathews
fulfilled a promise to buckle down in school. He maintained his eligibility and
proceeded to put together a 3,396-yard, 44-touchdown senior season that had
coaches calling from across the country.
attention, Mathews stayed true to his commitment to Fresno State’s Hill. A
classic downhill runner with a blend of power and speed, Mathews broke out as a
junior at FSU, rushing for a school-record and NCAA-leading 1,808 yards and 19
touchdowns. He tallied 17 runs of at least 20 yards and enjoyed some of his
best days against the nation’s top defenses, including a 234-yard,
three-touchdown performance against Boise State. Mathews became the only player
in the nation to rush for more than 100 yards against three Top-25 teams in
2009, doing so against No. 5 Cincinnati, No. 6 Boise St. and No. 14 Wisconsin.
Eager to make
amends to his mother for her sacrifices and right earlier wrongs, Mathews
applied for early entry to the 2010 NFL Draft. Ironically, one of Mathews’
childhood heroes was LaDainian Tomlinson and Mathews secretly hoped to be
drafted by the Chargers. Unbeknownst, the Chargers were so smitten with Mathews
that they traded up 16 spots to select Mathews with the 12th overall pick in
the first round. And coincidentally, he became the first running back selected
by the Chargers in the first round since Tomlinson in 2001.
and his mom now oversee the Trish and Ryan Mathews Door of Hope Chest. In
partnership with the Salvation Army, they assist homeless women and children
transition to independent living.