Arizona Cardinals defensive back Jerraud Powers understands the fascination with teammate Tyrann Mathieu.
“I think everybody loves a story of the rise, the fall, then back on top type of story,” he told Arizona Sports 620’s Bickley with Marotta Wednesday. “He had the situation where he was so young.
“Everybody forgets how young he was.”
Mathieu’s off-the-field issues at LSU were well documented, and he was ultimately dismissed from the team by head coach Les Miles before the 2012 season. The season before, the “Honey Badger” had finished fifth in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
“When he fell, you had a lot of people kind of saying what they thought.”
Powers said he heard all of it, that people hoped Mathieu would fail and that he would not amount to much in the NFL. However, the early returns on the Cardinals’ third-round pick are promising, as he seems to be making plays from all over the secondary.
Powers, who signed as a free agent with the Cardinals, has had a first-hand look, and is very impressed.
“He’s just accepting his role,” Powers said. “He’s not trying to be somebody he’s not, he’s not trying to act like he’s bigger than the next person.”
Of course, Mathieu, at 21, still has a long way to go before he convinces everyone he’s destined for stardom, as he will need to stay clean off the field and perform well on it.
But, as Powers said, the rookie is well on his way.
“You can see the guy just turning that corner, and if everything continues to go as well as it has gone, the sky is the limit,” he said. “He’s a heck of a football player.”