GREEN BAY – The quarterbacks had the wardrobe, and the star pass rusher got the hardware.
Shortly after Aaron Rodgers and Brett Hundley made a semi-grand entrance to the annual Greater Green Bay Chamber of Commerce “Welcome Back Luncheon” at Lambeau Field on Wednesday sporting “Men In Black” suits and shades, teammate Clay Matthews was recognized for helping to fight something more serious than fictitious aliens.
Matthews was presented with the Chamber’s 2017 Community Service Award, largely for his efforts to support CureDuchenne, an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding research to find a cure for Duchenne, a rare form of muscular dystrophy.
Chamber board member Mark Higgins, regional president of Johnson Bank, presented the award to Matthews. He talked about Matthews’ work with the Boys & Girls Club and other local organizations, and his extended involvement since early in his NFL career with CureDuchenne, for whom Matthews has filmed public service announcements, among other projects.
“You may see him on WWE ‘Smackdown,’” Higgins said of Matthews, “but he’s giving the smackdown to Duchenne.”
Duchenne affects young men and boys, rapidly deteriorating their muscles as they age. Most who suffer from Duchenne are confined to a wheelchair by age 12. Many die in their 20s. There is no cure for the disease.
Matthews supported CureDuchenne last season as part of the NFL’s “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign, wearing specialty shoes for the home game against Houston on Dec. 4.
As he received the award, Matthews thanked former award winners and fellow linebackers Sam Barrington and Jayrone Elliott for inspiring his community involvement, and he paid the message forward.
“I challenge each and every one of you out there to use your platform to do something to better your community,” Matthews said.
Head Coach Mike McCarthy then took the podium, congratulating Matthews and recognizing many of his teammates for their charitable endeavors as well.
“We’re proud of them,” McCarthy said. “Clay’s work and some of the things you heard about are just the tip of the iceberg.”
McCarthy then closed with remarks that reflect how he feels about the 2017 Packers as training camp concludes. Green Bay’s final preseason game is Thursday night, and the regular-season opener is coming soon on Sept. 10.
“We’re an ascending group of people trying to achieve the same thing,” McCarthy said. “I can’t say enough about the energy and the consistency of it.”