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Arizona Cardinals' Tyrann Mathieu looking for winning homecoming

St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy, left, runs with the ball for a 4-yard gain as Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu, right, defends during the second quarter of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 8, 2013, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

Some of the greatest moments of Tyrann Mathieu's life happened in the state of Louisiana.

He was born there. He became a football star there.

However, some of the worst moments of life also happened in the state, including getting dismissed from his college football team prior to the 2012 season.

The Arizona Cardinals are heading to the Bayou to take on the New Orleans Saints, meaning this will be a homecoming of sorts for the team's third-round pick.

"It should be exciting," Mathieu said. "Family, friends, everybody gets to see you play, like those high school days."

Mathieu said it won't be nearly as much fun if his team doesn't win the game, which is the most important part of the trip. It's football only, meaning he's going to have to do his best to keep the many distractions that are sure to be present at bay. And, of course, any negative feelings, too, which is why the "Honey Badger" said he's going into the game with a positive mindset.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians knows this game carries a little more with it for Mathieu than most, and he's shared some advice with the rookie.

"I know we've talked to him about distractions; he's basically going to play the football game and wave to everybody after the game," he said.

The 21-year-old, who has tallied 13 tackles along with one forced fumble this season, is fine with that. He just wants to show up, play well and leave with a win.

"Obviously I have a chance to play in front of my home town, but I also have a chance to get everybody back on my side," he said. "Those same people, when those negative things happened and said all those negative things about me.

"So like I said, I'm excited about it and hopefully all goes well."

About the Author

School: University of Arizona

When you started with Bonneville Phoenix: Fall 2008, right before Cardinals Super Bowl run

Favorite sports memory: Being at Game 7 of the 2001 World Series with my dad

Favorite all-time athlete: Larry Centers

Favorite sports movies: The Sandlot, Rookie of the Year, Jerry Maguire

Most crushing sports moment: Grew up in Arizona and went to UA from 2002-06. In short, there are too many to name just one.


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