The Denver Broncos, with star linebacker Von Miller out for an extended period of time, attempted to sign veteran linebacker Clay Matthews, but the two sides could not come to an agreement, Matthews’ agent said Thursday.
A source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that the Broncos were told Matthews was “not going to play,” leading to speculation that he was retiring. However, Matthews’ agent, Ryan Williams, released a statement saying that was not the case.
“We recently had communication with the Broncos, as we have with other teams during this offseason. We were under the impression that communication would remain private, but since it did not, let me be clear: We were unable to come to an agreement with Denver, but Clay remains open to playing in the NFL in 2020, provided it’s the right opportunity for him and his family,” Williams said.
Matthews also took to Twitter to say he “NEVER” said he wasn’t going to play.
Matthews became a free agent when the Los Angeles Rams released him on March 19. In April he filed a grievance against the Rams regarding $2 million in unpaid guarantees, sources told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler.
Broncos coach Vic Fangio said Wednesday that Miller will soon undergo surgery to repair an ankle tendon injury suffered on the last play of Tuesday’s practice. Miller was taken for an MRI on Tuesday afternoon and is scheduled to seek another opinion from Dr. Robert Anderson in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on Thursday. Other surgeons were expected to consult with Miller after viewing the MRI results as well.
At the moment, the Broncos will look to Malik Reed, who made the roster as an undrafted rookie last season, and veteran Jeremiah Attaochu to share the snaps at Miller’s outside linebacker spot. Complicating matters is that Bradley Chubb, who is coming back from last year’s ACL surgery, will likely have his snaps limited, at least early in the season.
Matthews, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, joined the Rams on a two-year contract last offseason after a 10-year stint with the Green Bay Packers.
Matthews, 35, played 13 games last season and had eight sacks, his most since 2014. He was sidelined for three games after suffering a broken jaw in Week 5 against the Seahawks.
He has 91.5 sacks in his 11-season career and is the Packers’ career sack leader with 83.5.
A 2009 first-round pick (26th overall), Matthews was a first-team All-Pro in 2010, when he was the runner-up to Steelers safety Troy Polamalu for Defensive Player of the Year.
Matthews has 11 sacks in 15 career playoff games, the most in Packers postseason history and tied for fifth in NFL playoff history.
ESPN’s Jeff Legwold and Lindsey Thiry contributed to this report.