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

Peyton ManningDec 19 07:42p

Updating a previous report, Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was officially limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, but he threw more than he did than the day prior, [ More ]

Frank GoreDec 19 05:42p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) was limited in practice Friday, Dec. 19, and is questionable for Week 16.

Keenan AllenDec 19 04:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) and WR Keenan Allen (shoulder, ankle) have been ruled out for Week 16 against the San Francisco 49ers.

Cam NewtonDec 19 04:12p

Updating previous reports, Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) has yet to officially be cleared to play in Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns, but head coach Ron Rivera [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice all week but is questionable for Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

Peyton ManningDec 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh) was back to a full practice Friday, Dec. 19, after being limited Thursday, Dec. 18. Manning made several strong throws in the portion open to the media.

T Y HiltonDec 19 02:12p

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) missed practice again Friday, Dec. 19, and RTV6's Mike Chappell is convinced that Hilton will not play in Week 16 against the Dallas Cowboys.

C.J. SpillerDec 19 12:53p

Buffalo Bills RB C.J. Spiller (shoulder) has been added to the active roster and is probable for Week 16 against the Oakland Raiders.

Cam NewtonDec 19 12:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) is listed as probable for Week 16 against the Cleveland Browns.

Blake BortlesDec 19 12:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles (foot) completed only 13 passes for 115 yards in the win over the Tennessee Titans Thursday, Dec. 18, but he didn't show any signs [ More ]

T Y HiltonDec 19 11:52a

Indianapolis Colts WR T.Y. Hilton (hamstring) is not participating in the portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

Julio JonesDec 19 11:22a

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (hip) is not participating in portion of practice open to the media Friday, Dec. 19.

DeMarco MurrayDec 19 10:52a

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand) is likely to play in Week 16, according to a source. Murray has a high threshold for pain, and according to the source, [ More ]

Eddie LacyDec 19 10:12a

Green Bay Packers RB Eddie Lacy (eye) said he wasn't able to read a teammate's nameplate a few feet away in the locker room Thursday, Dec. 18. Lacy said [ More ]

Leon WashingtonDec 18 11:32p

Tennessee Titans RB Leon Washington caught a team-high seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown in the team's 21-13 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars Thursday, Dec. 18. He [ More ]

Philip RiversDec 18 11:22p

San Diego Chargers QB Philip Rivers (back) looked good throwing the ball in the practice Thursday, Dec. 18, according to head coach Mike McCoy. 'Philip had an outstanding day,' [ More ]

Peyton ManningDec 18 07:22p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning (thigh, illness) said his illness is behind him, and he was receiving treatment for his thigh Thursday, Dec. 18. Head coach John Fox called Manning day-to-day.

Roy MillerDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Tommy StreeterDec 18 07:12p

The Jacksonville Jaguars have declared DL Andre Branch, CB Jeremy Harris, SS Matt Daniels, DL Roy Miller, CB Teddy Williams, WR Tommy Streeter, OG Tyler Shatley inactive for Week 16.

Kendall WrightDec 18 07:12p

Tennessee Titans WR Kendall Wright (hand) is active for Week 16 after being limited in practice all week.

Frank GoreDec 18 07:02p

San Francisco 49ers RB Frank Gore (concussion) continues through the concussion protocol this week, but head coach Jim Harbaugh anticipates Gore suiting up in Week 16 against the San [ More ]

Julius ThomasDec 18 06:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) played just 29 snaps in Week 15; only ten of them were pass routes, according to Pro Football Focus.

Rashad JenningsDec 18 06:12p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Carlos HydeDec 18 05:52p

San Francisco 49ers RB Carlos Hyde (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

DeAndre HopkinsDec 18 05:42p

Houston Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins (ankle) did not practice for the second straight day Thursday, Dec. 18.

Blake BortlesDec 18 04:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles has earned positive reviews from the team in his rookie season after being thrust into the spotlight early this year. 'That is not the [ More ]

Jay CutlerDec 18 04:12p

Chicago Bears QB Jay Cutler was benched just for this week against the Detroit Lions, according to head coach Marc Trestman. Cutler will be active and serve as the [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsDec 18 04:02p

Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams (hand) will be fitted cast that he can play with on his injured hand. Williams still has not caught a pass with the injured [ More ]

Rashad JenningsDec 18 04:02p

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings (ankle) has not been able to do any running this week, according to head coach Tom Coughlin.

Ryan MathewsDec 18 03:42p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Dec. 18.

Cam NewtonDec 18 02:52p

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (back) fully participated in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, and appears to be on track to start in Week 16, according to head coach Ron Rivera.

DeMarco MurrayDec 18 02:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray (hand), who was expected to take some team snaps in practice Thursday, Dec. 18, is in no more risk if he plays in Week [ More ]

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