Rishard Matthews' time with the Titans may be over

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Rishard Matthews has left the Titans and his future is uncertain.

A productive receiver for the franchise over the last two seasons, he missed the offseason with an Achilles issue and then suffered a torn meniscus early in training camp that slowed his comeback.

Rishard Matthews, Tennessee Titans

He’s been largely invisible in the team’s first three games with three catches for 11 yards. In August, he signed a contract extension that added on the 2019 season.


Rishard Matthews' Wife and Children

Wednesday Mike Vrabel said Matthews was excused for personal reasons. Now I've got indications that his Instagram post suggesting he is “home for good" is an accurate indicator that it “looks like” he’s finished in Tennessee.

ABout 30 minutes after the initial version of this report, AtoZSports Nashville got text replies from Matthews.


“I’ve been the leading receiver for two years,” Matthews continued. “Then all of a sudden I’m barely playing and not even starting. Using my injury as the scapegoat. Look at number of snaps and targets.”

The site reported Matthews has asked for and will receive his release once paperwork is finalized.

Matthews had not gotten any sort of endorsement from Vrabel, who's responded to question about his role by discussing the need for players to earn game-day work.

Sunday in the Titans' 9-6 win in Jacksonville, Matthews dropped a pass that killed a drive shortly after Marcus Mariota came off the bench to replace a concussed Blaine Gabbert. Darius Jennings then got some early work in what we'd have expected to be Matthews' spot. Later, Matthews fielded punts after Adoree' Jackson left the game with a concussion.

With Delanie Walker out for the season after a severe ankle injury suffered in the season opener, Matthews was expected to emerge as a key target.

He caught 53 passes for 795 yards and four touchdowns in 2017 after 65 receptions for 945 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016. Tennessee signed him as a free agent from Miami with a three-year, $15 million deal with $5 million guaranteed.

Minus Matthews, the Titans will lean even more on Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe. Jennings and Nick Williams, who just rejoined the team last week after recovering from a preseason hamstring injury, will vie for snaps as the fourth and fifth receivers.

Matthews fired his agent this summer as he completed the contract extension. It included a potential for an additional $1.375 million this season.

Matthews' brother was a military veteran who was killed in a helicopter crash while doing civilian work in Afghanistan. A year ago, after Donald Trump made disparaging remarks about NFL players protesting social injustice during the national anthem before NFL games,  Matthews vowed he would not be on the field for the anthem until the president apologized.

Matthews then stayed in the locker room for all but one anthem --on the NFL's salute to service week. His stance made him a polarizing figure for some fans, but the organization showed him nothing but support.

This season he was on the field with the Titans for the anthem, both in the preseason when he was not dressed for games and for the first three games on the regular season.

The extension called for Matthews to earn $6.125 million next year. It's unclear how his departure will sift out contractually and with regard to the salary cap if he does not return to the team.

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