Mathieu ready for Cardinals rookie camp

By JOHN MARSHALL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-05-09 19:24

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) - The Honey Badger wants to shed his nickname.

Too many bad memories, too much of a stigma attached to the name once meant as a compliment to former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.

``I understand that there's a lot of people who love it and can't let it go,'' Mathieu said Thursday during his introductory news conference with the Arizona Cardinals. ``But for me, I want people to recognize me as Tyrann. I don't have anything against the nickname, it's just that Honey Badger happened during such a dark time.''

It certainly was.

Once one of college football's most dynamic players, Mathieu found himself out of the game last season and his future in doubt after repeated problems with marijuana.

Mathieu spent six months trying to rehabilitate his image and was emotional after being given a second chance, sobbing almost uncontrollably into the phone after the Cardinals used a third-round draft pick on him.

With Arizona about to start a rookie minicamp, it's time for Mathieu to show what he can do on the field and start the process of proving to the Cardinals that they didn't make a mistake in drafting him so high.

The good news is that he'll have some friends to lean on.

Patrick Peterson, Arizona's All-Pro cornerback, was Mathieu's teammate at LSU and one of his closest friends, perhaps his biggest ally as he tried to restore his image over the past few months.

Mathieu also will be joining the Cardinals with another teammate: linebacker Kevin Minter, who was drafted in the second round by Arizona in this year's draft.

And it even goes beyond that.

LSU has churned out one NFL player after another and many of them pay it backward, letting the players coming up behind know what's coming next.

``It definitely helps,'' Minter said. ``All the guys from LSU, they're always preaching what happens at the next level. They prepare us well, tell us the dos and don'ts. I'm sure I'm going to adjust well.''

Mathieu may have the tougher acclimation.

A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, he was kicked off LSU's team before the start of last season for repeated failed drug tests. His image and NFL future took another hit a few weeks later, when he and three former teammates were arrested on marijuana charges after police officers found 10 bags of pot and drug paraphernalia in his Baton Rouge apartment.

Mathieu spent the months leading up to the draft trying to rehabilitate his image and keep himself in shape, leaning on Peterson to make sure he was on the right track.

Mathieu helped himself by being honest about his past problems with Arizona's front office and agreed to whatever kind of drug testing and counseling the team might want.

After taking North Carolina guard Jonathan Cooper in the first round and Minter in the second, the Cardinals felt like they could take a chance with their third-round pick and used it on Mathieu.

Between their gamble and Peterson's faith in him, Mathieu realizes the changes he's made over the past six-or-so months have to stick.

``To go through that then and understand my responsibility now, I have a different mindset and a different outlook,'' Mathieu said. ``I know there are a bunch of people out there who want me to succeed and want me to be a leader in the community.''

While there may be doubt about whether Mathieu can fulfill his end of the straight-and-narrow bargain, those close to him are certain he will - and will be there to help him do it.

Peterson vouched for Mathieu's character to the Cardinals before the draft and said he plans to continue being a mentor to prevent anymore slip-ups.

Minter, too, said he would be someone for Mathieu to lean on if he needs it and had no doubt he would have a big impact on the Cardinals.

``I'm just excited about having him on the team,'' Minter said. ``He's a very passionate player, plays every down as if it were his last. Regardless what happened off the field, the dude was a great teammate. It's going to feel good having him in the locker room.''

As for the Honey Badger nickname, Mathieu hopes to have that retired - except in certain situations.

``If the little kids out there want to call me Honey Badger, they can do that,'' Mathieu said.

If Mathieu can play like he did before his fall from grace, he and the Cardinals aren't likely to care what anyone calls him.

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 04:42p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) was placed on the season-ending Reserve/Injured list Monday, Oct. 5, due to a staph infection in his ankle. TE Will Tye was [ More ]

Antonio GatesOct 5 04:22p

San Diego Chargers TE Antonio Gates is in great shape and will be play in the Week 5 game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, according to head coach Mike McCoy.

Ryan MallettOct 5 02:42p

Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett will be the starting quarterback for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts Thursday, Oct. 8, according to head coach Bill O'Brien.

Christine MichaelOct 5 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Christine Michael will have a role in the offense, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones, with RB Lance Dunbar (knee) possibly out for the rest [ More ]

Dez BryantOct 5 02:32p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (foot) could return after the Cowboys' Week 6 bye, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones. Bryant recently had a positive examination of the [ More ]

Cecil Shorts IIIOct 5 02:12p

Houston Texans WR Cecil Shorts (shoulder) is considered doubtful for the Week 5 game against the Indianapolis Colts because of the dislocated shoulder he suffered in Week 4.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 02:12p

St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) will need surgery on his ankle, according to head coach Jeff Fisher. Ogletree is a candidate to be placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list.

Dan CampbellOct 5 01:52p

Miami Dolphins tight ends coach Dan Campbell was named the team's interim head coach Monday, Oct. 5.

Julius ThomasOct 5 01:52p

Jacksonville Jaguars TE Julius Thomas (hand) is scheduled to meet with a doctor Monday, Oct. 5, and may be cleared for full practice after the meeting. His status for [ More ]

Caleb SturgisOct 5 01:32p

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis will remain the team's kicker for the time being, according to head coach Chip Kelly.

Will MontgomeryOct 5 01:22p

Chicago Bears C Will Montgomery (leg) will miss the remainder of the 2015 season after he suffered a fractured tibia during the team's Week 4 game. He will need [ More ]

Josh JohnsonOct 5 01:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Josh Johnson was released Monday, Oct. 5.

Colin KaepernickOct 5 01:02p

San Francisco 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick was 13-for-25 for just 160 yards and an interception in the Week 4 loss to the Green Bay Packers. He also ran for 57 yards on 10 carries.

Kyle BrindzaOct 5 12:42p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers PK Kyle Brindza was released Monday, Oct. 5, after missing seven kicks in the last two weeks.

Joe PhilbinOct 5 11:52a

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin was fired Monday, Oct. 5, according to Sun-Sentinel.

Willie SneadOct 5 11:02a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead played 48 snaps (66% of the offense) Sunday, Oct. 4, in Week 4, while WR Brandon Coleman played just 19 for 26% of the offense.

Andrew LuckOct 5 10:12a

Updating an earlier report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected by the team to be under center Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. His shoulder injury [ More ]

Daniel FellsOct 5 09:52a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (foot) had an unexpected foot surgery and is likely headed to Injured Reserve, according to sources.

Jordan ReedOct 5 09:42a

Updating a previous report, Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (concussion) was diagnosed with a concussion Sunday, Oct. 4.

Andrew LuckOct 5 08:52a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) has a short week to prepare for Week 5, but he's trending toward being ready Thursday, Oct. 8, against the Houston Texans. 'He [ More ]

DeMarco MurrayOct 5 08:42a

Philadelphia Eagles RB DeMarco Murray said he's not getting enough touches in the offense Sunday, Oct. 4. 'No, I'm not,' Murray said. 'I don't think I am. It's how [ More ]

C.J. SpillerOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB C.J. Spiller carried just twice for 10 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys, but he had an 80-yard touchdown catch and [ More ]

Willie SneadOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints WR Willie Snead posted six receptions for 89 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys.

Mark IngramOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram carried 17 times for 77 yards in the Week 4 game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also added six receptions for 51 yards [ More ]

Drew BreesOct 5 01:42a

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (shoulder) completed 33 of his 41 pass attempts for 359 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. His 80-yard touchdown pass to RB C.J. [ More ]

Brandon WeedenOct 5 01:12a

Dallas Cowboys QB Brandon Weeden completed 16 of his 26 pass attempts for 246 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 overtime loss against the New [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group