One of the reasons Tyrann Mathieu resonates with not only fans but his coaches and his teammates is because the safety can't help but be real. He has no problem talking about the truth, including the dark truths that he lived before he reached the NFL. He did again recently, talking with Pete Prisco of cbssports.com in a riveting video interview while Mathieu rehabs his right knee after an ACL tear. It's definitely worth a watch.
The video shows Mathieu working out, including some of his treadmill running with the support of an upper body harness. Mathieu, who is in the process of becoming a vegan, also said he is able to work out five to six hours and has no doubt about his comeback. But the video, which is themed toward comebacks of all kinds, isn't just about Mathieu's current comeback but of the one everyone knows -- after getting kicked out of LSU in college, later being arrested, and then recovering to set his life on track and turning into an NFL all-pro.
"I've been depressed before, trying to find every excuse in the world why I should not continue to go forward," Mathieu said. "I probably smoked so much marijuana, you know what I mean, that I could just forget about it. Nowadays, that's not my escape anymore."
"I want to handle things head on," Mathieu added. "I want to surround myself with people that have been in similar situations I've been in ... and lean on those people."
Once upon a time, Mathieu said, "I always felt like I had an excuse ... doing the things knuckleheads do. He got to the point, right after he was arrested, that "I got tired of disrespecting myself."
You know the story from there, coming to the Cardinals and a great support system, including teammate Patrick Peterson. (One interesting quote, about Mathieu's contract negotiations heading into the last year of his deal after two ACL tears: "They have concerns, which is understandable. I've had two knee surgeries. At the same time, they know who I am as a teammate, as a football player, what I mean to the community and what I can do on the football field. The easiest thing is to pay me as a safety. But if Pat's guy goes down, I have to check Pat's guy. For me, it's about me being compensated for everything I do.")
Another notable part of the video, especially in light of the departure of coach-on-the-field Rashad Johnson. Mathieu said he is always asking for as much information about the defense that he can get and that he wants to know what every position on the defense is doing all the time. If anyone was unsure who is planning to become that new coach-on-the-field, it's not a secret.