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Mathews Terrified by Dinner

I almost had a heart attack: Mathews

By Michael Gehlken
|  Tuesday, Aug 24, 2010  |  Updated 2:32 PM PDT
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Chargers running back Ryan Mathews will run through anyone who stands in his way on the football field. That goes for defenders, his own teammates — it doesn't matter. The guy is fearless.

Except when it comes to dinner.

Mathews' meeting with the press was going swimmingly on Monday until one reporter asked if he was ready for the rookie dinner that same night.

Mathews: Dinner...?

Reporter: Aren't you doing the rookie dinner tonight?

Mathews: It's tonight?

Surrounding media: [laughter]

Mathews: Seriously?

Surrounding media: [more laughter]

Mathews: Hold on. Is it really tonight?

[looks to Jamaal LeFrances, Chargers media relations coordinator]

Mathews: Hey Jamaal! Jamaal! Hey, is the dinner tonight?

Jamaal: I don't think so.

Mathews: Is the rookie dinner tonight?

Jamaal: Uh...no. Not that I know of.

Mathews: Ahhh, ok, nah, aah, woooo, oooh... I almost had a heart attack.

The rookie dinner: guaranteed to be the nicest worst meal of Mathews' young life.

Per longstanding team tradition, the Chargers' first round draft pick gives back to the local food service industry by treating the entire team to a meal at a fancy restaurant. This year, the bill's on Mathews, the 12th overall pick out of Fresno State.

Last year's tab had linebacker Larry English forking out over $14,000. In 2005, linebacker Shawne Merriman paid roughly $32,000.

The most ballyhooed rookie dinner came in 1998 when quarterback Ryan Leaf naturally refused to pick up the check. Linebacker Junior Seau ended up stealing Leaf's credit card to complete the transaction, which reportedly cost around $3,000.

Chump change compared to what Mathews will be spending.

“It's going to hurt a little bit, but I'm looking forward to it,” Mathews said, as if that near-heart attack seconds earlier didn't just happen. “It's going to be fun."

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