2014 DRAFT GUIDE
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

Cam NewtonSep 16 01:23p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) was dealing with a bit of soreness in his foot after the Week 2 game, according to head coach Ron Rivera. However, Rivera [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsSep 16 01:13p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (thigh) is expected to return to practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, and be ready to play in Week 3 against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Williams sat [ More ]

Lance MooreSep 16 01:13p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Lance Moore (groin) practiced in full Tuesday, Sept. 16, and the team will keep tabs on how he responds this week, according to head coach Mike [ More ]

Gerald McCoySep 16 12:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy (hand) said he will not know if he will be able to play in the team's Week 3 game until the morning of Thursday, Sept. 18.

Josh GordonSep 16 12:53p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon pled guilty to driving while intoxicated in North Carolina Tuesday, Sept. 16, according to the Wake County Clerk of Court. He received 12 months [ More ]

Jon BeasonSep 16 12:43p

New York Giants LB Jameel McClain could start at middle linebacker if LB Jon Beason (foot) has to miss time, in the opinion of Dan Graziano of ESPN New York.

Zach ErtzSep 16 11:33a

Philadelphia Eagles TE Zach Ertz leads the NFL in yards per reception (23.3) through two weeks. He also is tied with Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones for the most [ More ]

Tom BradySep 16 10:53a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is 3-for-20 on passing attempts of 15 yards or more in the first two weeks.

Bacarri RamboSep 16 09:43a

The Washington Redskins waived FS Bacarri Rambo Tuesday, Sept. 16.

Jamaal CharlesSep 16 09:33a

Kansas City Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles' (ankle) high ankle sprain does not appear to be severe, according to head coach Andy Reid. His status is unknown.

Knile DavisSep 16 09:22a

Kansas City Chiefs RB Knile Davis' insertion into the starting lineup would not alter the team's game plan, according to head coach Andy Reid.

Adrian PetersonSep 16 08:43a

Updating previous reports, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson has been cleared of wrongdoing in the second child abuse investigation, according to sources. The investigation found that Peterson did not [ More ]

Andrew LuckSep 16 12:02a

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck completed 20 of his 34 pass attempts for 172 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in the Week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles [ More ]

Nick FolesSep 15 11:52p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Nick Foles completed 21 of his 37 pass attempts for 331 yards, one touchdowns and one interception in the Week 2 game against the Indianapolis Colts [ More ]

Darren SprolesSep 15 11:52p

Philadelphia Eagles RB Darren Sproles had seven receptions for a career-high 152 yards in Week 2 against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Sept. 15. He also had four carries for 26 yards and a touchdown.

LeSean McCoySep 15 11:52p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy had 20 carries for 79 yards and a touchdown in the Week 2 game against the Indianapolis Colts Monday, Sept. 15, and he added four receptions for 23 yards.

Akeem SpenceSep 15 10:53p

If Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Gerald McCoy (hand) is unable to play in the Week 3 game against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, Sept. 18, head coach Lovie Smith said [ More ]

Gerald McCoySep 15 10:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Mason Foster (shoulder), DT Gerald McCoy (hand) and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins (ankle) were listed as missing practice Monday, Sept. 15. The league requires teams to [ More ]

Dane FletcherSep 15 10:53p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Dane Fletcher might get the start in Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, Sept. 18, if LB Mason Foster (shoulder) is unable to go.

Julio JonesSep 15 10:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (ankle) was listed as a limited participant in practice Monday, Sept. 15, due to his ankle issue.

Roddy WhiteSep 15 10:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (hamstring) was listed as missing practice Monday, Sept. 15, due to a hamstring injury.

Gabe CarimiSep 15 10:32p

Atlanta Falcons OT Jake Matthews (ankle) is expected to play in Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, head coach Mike Smith said Monday, Sept. 15. Matthews was listed [ More ]

Leon McFaddenSep 15 10:32p

The San Francisco 49ers signed free-agents TE Xavier Grimble (Giants) and CB Leon McFadden (Browns) to the practice squad Monday, Sept. 15. The team released CB Chance Casey and [ More ]

Arthur JonesSep 15 09:42p

Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts DT Arthur Jones (ankle) was taken for X-rays on his right ankle after suffering an injury in the second quarter of the Week [ More ]

Arthur JonesSep 15 09:32p

Indianapolis Colts DT Arthur Jones (shoulder) was able to play in the Week 2 game against the Philadelphia Eagles Monday, Sept. 15, but he was shaken up in the [ More ]

Marshawn LynchSep 15 09:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (back) is dealing with a back issue, and head coach Pete Carroll said Monday, Sept. 15, that the issue is 'ongoing.' Lynch will be [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 15 08:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is accused of injuring another son while disciplining the four-year-old, according to new allegations Monday, Sept. 15. The four-year-old is by a different mother [ More ]

Carson PalmerSep 15 07:02p

Arizona Cardinals QB Carson Palmer (shoulder) continues to seek treatment for a nerve injury in his right shoulder Monday, Sept. 15, and head coach Bruce Arians is concerned that [ More ]

Andy DaltonSep 15 07:02p

Cincinnati Bengals QB Andy Dalton has not been hit once on 63 dropbacks so far this season.

Von MillerSep 15 07:02p

Denver Broncos LBs Von Miller (groin) and Lerentee McCray (knee) are both expected to play in Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks.

Dane FletcherSep 15 06:32p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers LB Mason Foster (shoulder) suffered a dislocated shoulder in the team's Week 2 loss to the St. Louis Rams, according to a source. He's not expected [ More ]

Tony FiammettaSep 15 06:32p

The Chicago Bears re-signed free-agent FB Tony Fiammetta Monday, Sept. 15. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group