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Neal credits Matthews for taking under his wing, Rodgers for support

Jay Sorgi

Mike Neal. Photo: Image by Green Bay Packers/TODAY'S TMJ4

Neal credits Matthews for taking under his wing, Rodgers for support

By Jay Sorgi. CREATED Oct 7, 2013

To make a position change in the National Football League can prove to be an arduous task. 

However, Packers defensive lineman-turned-linebacker Mike Neal has learned the craft from one of the best in the game and grown into a starter at the position for the Green Bay Packers.

"First and foremost, I have to thank Clay (Matthews, an All-Pro) and Aaron Rodgers for getting me out there  Two years ago, Clay said 'You could be Lamar Woodley out there," said Neal on "Packers Live," which airs on TODAY'S TMJ4 and NBC26.

"Clay's embraced me, taught me a little bit about the position...'It's your opportunity.  If you need me, I'm here.' "

Matthews says that Neal had all the tools to perform well at the position.

"With him, you can tell he had a unique ability, his explosiveness, his change of direction, everything that makes an outside linebacker," said Matthews.

Neal, who Packers analyst Larry McCarren says "has muscles on his muscles," has successfully transitioned well to the starting role.

"I think the transition for me was big, to be able to go out and produce, get the starting job.  It came through for me.  It was fun."