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Chris Matthews shows why Seahawks signed him

One year ago while the Seattle Seahawks were defeating the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl, Chris Matthews was working at Foot Locker after being released by the CFL's Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Sunday in Super Bowl XLIX, Matthews might have been one play away from becoming the Super Bowl MVP.

It's no secret that the Seahawks have been searching for a big-body receiver who can use his size and strength to outfight defenders for passes downfield. You know, a Megatron-type receiver like the Detroit Lions' Calvin Johnson.

Maybe they just found him in MegaMatthews.

OK, that's an enormous stretch, but Matthews had his coming-out party in Super Bowl XLIX, catching four passes for 109 yards and a touchdown. This is a guy who never had caught a pass in an NFL game. Heck, he had never even been targeted for a pass.

But Matthews' stunning performance in the Super Bowl was an example of what the Seahawks thought he could be when they signed him last spring.

Matthews (6-foot-5, 225 pounds) was voted the CFL's Most Outstanding Rookie in 2012 when he caught 81 passes for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns for the Blue Bombers. He spent most of the 2013 season injured, but the Seahawks signed him hoping he could fill their need for a big receiver.

It didn't happen, at least not in training camp. Matthews had a hamstring injury that limited him in camp. He was released at the end of preseason, but the Seahawks didn't give up on him, signing Matthews to the practice squad.

Matthews finally made it on the 53-man roster in early December before the 13th game of the season. He played in three games, mostly on special teams.

Things started to change for him in the NFC Championship Game, when Matthews came up with the recovery on the onside kick that helped the Seahawks rally over the Green Bay Packers.

It brought him attention, but no one could have imagined he would be an offensive standout for the Seahawks in the Super Bowl. Matthews made two deep catches of 44 and 45 yards, the first of which was a spectacular grab as he fell to the turf. He also had an 11-yard touchdown catch.

It was an eye-opening performance, but Matthews was still trying to get over the heartbreaking loss when he talked to reports Tuesday.

"It's hard and it's hitting me real hard," Matthews said. "I would have been fine with zero receptions, zero touchdowns, zero tackles on special teams and came out with a win. That would have been great for me.

"A lot of these guys got to experience the Super Bowl and they have a Super Bowl ring to show for it -- I don't. I'm pretty mad about that. I'm extremely mad about that, but we will get over it and I'm going to work this offseason and come back a better player, hopefully. I know for sure, when my mind is set and where I'm at right now, I'm going to do as much as I can."

Before the Super Bowl started, MSNBC's Chris Matthews had about as much a chance of being a star in the game as No. 13 for the Seahawks. By the way, even the broadcaster Matthews noticed, sending the Seahawks receiver a congratulatory message on Twitter.

Fellow Seahawks receiver Doug Baldwin, who also had a touchdown catch Sunday, wasn't surprised to see Matthews step up.

"He's going to be a part of this moving forward," Baldwin said of Matthews. "We've seen him do these kinds of things all year [in practice], but it was just a matter of getting the opportunity. I look forward to what he can bring to the team."

Life took a dramatic shift for Matthews at the Super Bowl. Whether it was a one-game fluke or a sign of things to come is something all the Seahawks fans want to find out next season.