Chris Matthews went from almost being the most valuable player of the Super Bowl to being released by the Seahawks in just 9½ months.
On Tuesday, the Seahawks waived Matthews and signed fellow wide receiver Kevin Smith, who is from their practice squad and the University of Washington.
Matthews had the first four catches, first touchdown and the first 109 receiving yards of his NFL career in a crazy, breakout performance in Super Bowl 49 on Feb. 1.
As league staffers collected ballots for game MVP inside the press box, with about six minutes left in the fourth quarter and Seattle leading, 24-21, it appeared that Matthews would win the honor, the new car that comes with it and worldwide fame.
He was on the cusp of becoming the unlikeliest Super Bowl MVP ever if the Seahawks could hold on.
We all know what happened after that.
New England’s Tom Brady ended up winning the Super Bowl MVP award.
This past offseason, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said the 6-foot-5 Matthews, signed out of the Canadian Football League in February 2014, would get every chance to be Seattle’s third wide receiver in a big, physical role that only he could fill on the roster.
Then 5-10 rookie Tyler Lockett sped past him on the depth chart.
Matthews has been just about nonexistent since, with just four catches this season. It was a good game for him if he had even one target. Russell Wilson threw his way only nine times in nine games.
Seahawks fans will remember Matthews for his recovery of an onside kick late in regulation of January’s NFC championship game. It allowed Seattle to come all the way back from a 16-0 deficit to Green Bay and, eventually, win in overtime to earn a second straight trip to the Super Bowl.
The fact that the Seahawks waived him while wide receiver Paul Richardson is reinjured with a hamstring problem — one game after Richardson came off the physically-unable-to-perform list — shows how far Matthews had fallen out of Seattle’s plans.
The 23-year-old Smith has become a coaches’ favorite for his hard work since Seattle signed him — first last year as an undrafted free agent and again this past offseason. He was impressive during this past preseason.
Smith’s promotion to the active roster before Sunday’s home game for the Seahawks (4-5) against San Francisco (3-6) caps a personal comeback.
He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee at a UW practice days before the Huskies played in the 2011 Alamo Bowl.
Gregg Bell: @gbellseattle