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Cardinals rookie Christian Matthew almost gave up on NFL dream for Walmart job

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Arizona Cardinals rookie cornerback Christian Matthew knew he wanted to play in the NFL, but when that didn’t seem possible he began to think about his future. 

Matthew, who was drafted by the Cardinals with the No. 244 overall pick, told reporters after Friday’s rookie minicamp practice he nearly walked away from a possible NFL career to take a job at Walmart. 

“Moving around, I held the faith for sure, but it felt like (the dream) died when I got to Valdosta,” Matthew said of his college career, via the team’s website. “I was like, ‘All right, I’m about to be getting a little older here, maybe I should get a job, maybe I should move on with my life.'”

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Christian Matthew of the Valdosta State Blazers against the Ferris State Bulldogs during the Division II championship at McKinney ISD Stadium Dec. 18, 2021.
(C. Morgan Engel/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

The 25-year-old cornerback began his college career at Georgia Southern before transferring to Samford and eventually Valdosta State. 

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Matthew said he was “very close” to accepting the Walmart job, but his family stepped in to remind him those jobs would always be there, playing in the NFL is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. 

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Wide receiver Keenan Barnes (21) of the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns pulls down a pass against cornerback Christian Matthew (13) of the Georgia Southern Eagles Nov. 10, 2016, at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga.  

Wide receiver Keenan Barnes (21) of the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns pulls down a pass against cornerback Christian Matthew (13) of the Georgia Southern Eagles Nov. 10, 2016, at Paulson Stadium in Statesboro, Ga.  
(Todd Bennett/Getty Images)

“I had to take a moment,” he said of his first day with the team. “That was surreal.”

 Matthew joins a cornerback room with the Cardinals 2019 No. 2 overall draft pick Byron Murphy.

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