TEMPE – The blond-colored mohawk is gone, replaced by; well, replaced by, nothing.
“The deal going into it was they would leave the mohawk, but once I sat down, all the rules were out the window,” said a clean-shaven Tyrann Mathieu.
He’s also missing a left eyebrow.
“Long story short, a couple of veterans took advantage of them,” he explained with a smile. “Long story short.”
Yes, Mathieu and many of the other Cardinals’ rookies were on the receiving end of some rookie hazing the night before the preseason opener at Green Bay.
Of course, the makeover had little effect on Mathieu’s play in the game.
“He was making plays and having fun, just the way I knew he would play; the way he’s been practicing every day,” head coach Bruce Arians said Sunday following practice, which was spent both outside and inside, in the brand-new bubble. “They didn’t throw, I don’t think one time towards him but he broke up a couple of nice balls and he tackled well, had a nice sack, so, yeah, he had a very productive day.”
Mathieu was officially credited with two tackles, one for a loss, a sack, a quarterback hit, a pass breakup plus on special teams, he had two tackles and a 24-yard punt return.
“I think I did pretty good,” he said. “There’s always room for improvement. I definitely would’ve wanted to make some more plays.”
Keep in mind Mathieu hadn’t played in a game, of any kind, since 2011.
“On the bus ride there I was nervous. I was anxious. I wanted to just get out there. I didn’t know what it was going to be like again, but after that first kickoff everything kind of settled down for me,” he said.
And the tackling?
“Once you learn something, you never forget it,” he said.
Mathieu, known as a ball-hawk at LSU, has received a considerable amount of attention since training camp began. That’s not about to change now, not after his performance against the Packers.
“I’m not a starter, so I’m still motivated,” he said. “I still have a long way to go.”
Kind of like that left eyebrow.
“I’ve tried to disguise it. I tried to put a Band-Aid over my eyebrow. That doesn’t work. I tried to wear my hat low; can’t see where I’m going. It’s just tough right now,” Mathieu said. “Hopefully in the next week my eyebrow comes back and I can just be myself again. But right now, it’s just tough.”