by Fitzgerald Cecilio
San Diego, CA
San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews revealed that he has received cruel messages on Twitter from people frustrated with his performance.
"I've had people say they hope me and my mom get AIDS and die," Mathews told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
"I got a lot of people just frustrated with my performance in the last few years," he added. "They expected me to come in and do big things. And I expect myself to."
Mathews, a 12th overall pick by the Chargers in 2010, was dubbed as heir apparent to franchise icon LaDainian Tomlinson but he has yet to play a full season due to a variety of injuries, missing 10 games over three campaigns.
Mathews, who rushed for 707 yards and just one touchdown last season, admitted that he was pressured while trying to live up to expectations.
"I put a lot of pressure on myself to fill LT's shoes," Mathews said. "I was trying to live up to those expectations -- what he was doing in his prime, all the yards he's getting, all the touchdowns he's getting, just trying to live up to that."
"I knew I was the first-round pick, the Chargers] moved up 16 spots and all that, and I was just trying to do more than what I should have been doing. I think I took all the fun out of it and stressed myself out over it," he added.
This season, Mathews said he plans to silence his critics by going back to his style of play at Fresno State and not focus on Tomlinson's achievements.
"In practice, I'm just trying to focus on what I do. I'm not trying to focus on what would Tomlinson do? I'm just gonna go back to like I was playing at Fresno State -- just running the ball, catching the ball and scoring touchdowns," he said.