They say that to whom much is given, much is expected, and that's true of San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews. The former Fresno State star was selected 12th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft, and while he's done well in the NFL so far, there's a feeling among those who know him that Mathews' third NFL season must -- and will -- be a breakout campaign.
When we caught up with Mathews at Travelle Gaines' new Performance Gaines training facility in L.A. last week, he was training as hard as he did with Gaines' before the 2010 scouting combine, when Gaines' specific speed programs has Mathews running a 4.37 40-yard dash on the track at Indianapolis' Lucas Oil Stadium. He gained more than 1,000 yards in the NFL last season in 14 games, but Mathews is training like a man who knows he can do much more.
Gaines and Mathews talked about what it takes to jump to the NFL elite.
"Ryan's just got the right mindset," Gaines said. "And that's what it's all about -- it's about mindset. If you're willing to do the work, you're going to get the results you need. Ryan just has a strong belief in himself, and he's a very confident running back. There was a prescription made for him to dial up his speed and peak at the right time, and he just followed that prescription. Ryan has continued to do what he needs to do to become one of the best backs in the NFL. I'm really close with Ryan -- we have a lot in common. We grew up very similar, and that's my relationship with him. We connect mentally, and it goes back to the mindset. He does the work, and I do whatever I can to help him out at any given time."
"My mindset is that I've always known that I could be one of the best," Mathews said. "San Diego did a great job of building me up, and getting me on the position I'm in. I had really great OTAs and minicamp, and I proved to the coaches that I can be the man -- I can be an every-down back. Like Travelle said, it's all mental -- being able to take 25-30 snaps per game, I think I can be top 3 in yards from scrimmage, and that's my mindset. It's all on me."
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