Ira Matthews

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Ira Matthews
No. 43

Kick returner Punt returner

Running back
Personal information
Date of birth: (1957-08-23) August 23, 1957 (age 57)
Place of birth: Rockford, Illinois
Career information
College: University of Wisconsin
NFL Draft: 1979 / Round: 6 / Pick: 142
Debuted in 1979
Last played in 1981
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Rushing attempts-yards 7-14
Receptions-yards 3-33
Touchdowns 1
Stats at NFL.com

Ira Richard Matthews, III (born August 23, 1957 in Rockford, Illinois) is a former professional American football player who played kick returner and punt returner for three seasons for the Oakland Raiders. Matthews stood 5"8' and weighed 175 lbs which made it difficult to catch him. Matthews was named to the NFL 1979 All-Pro Team as a return man during his rookie season. On October 25, 1979, Matthews set a Monday Night Football record for kick-off returns with a 104-yard return against the San Diego Chargers. Matthews was a member of the Oakland Raiders Super Bowl XV championship team. During his three seasons with the Raiders he helped lead his team to win the 1980 Wild Card, 1981 AFC West Conference Championship, and Super Bowl XV. His career ended at the end of his 1981 season due to injuries, only playing for three seasons total.

Matthews was drafted by the Raiders in the sixth round of the 1979 NFL Draft. He played collegiate football at the University of Wisconsin, where he led the nation in punt returns in 1978, averaging 16.9 yards per punt return, including three for touchdowns. He is widely considered one of the greatest returners of the Oakland franchise.