NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When receiver Rishard Matthews joined the Titans as a free agent back in March, he knew plenty of teammates, coaches and fans would be curious about him.
"I feel like a lot of people probably didn't what I was about,'' Matthews said. "So I knew I had something to prove."
In his first season with the Titans, Matthews proved plenty.
In 2016, Matthews led the Titans with 945 yards and nine touchdowns on 65 receptions. Among wide receivers with the Titans, his yardage total was the highest since Kendall Wright's 1,079 yards in 2013. He tied with tight end Delanie Walker for the team lead in receptions.
Matthews went out with a bang. He led the team with nine receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown in the season-finale against the Texans. It was his third 100-yard receiving game in six weeks to close out the season.
Matthews, who played his first four NFL seasons with the Dolphins, became the first Titans player with nine touchdown catches in a season since Kenny Britt had nine in 2010. Prior to 2016 season, Matthews tallied eight touchdowns in four seasons in Miami.
"Rishard did a lot of good things, especially as the year went on,'' coach Mike Mularkey said of Matthews. "He was much more productive. He was splitting time with Andre (Johnson) early in the season, so his production wasn't as high then. With the retirement, I think him having more opportunities, he showed he could make some plays when this team needed to make plays and very productive, yeah. Hopefully, when you're
signing a guy like that, you're hoping for that kind of production."
Matthews said he was satisfied with the season, but felt like he could have done more.
He wants even bigger and better things in 2017.
"55 yards short of a 1,000? Oh man,'' Matthews said at season's end. "Oh well. I came here to do what I did. I thought I would do more actually, but I tried to take advantage of my opportunities.
"I just tried to be a guy they trusted throwing the ball to, and when they threw the ball my way I just tried to make the play. When the ball comes your way, you just try and make the play. I want them to count on me to make big plays.
"Hopefully there will be more of that next year, and it will come on the way to the playoffs."