It’s nice to focus on Tyrann Mathieu’s football ability

Aug 14, 2013, 9:10 PM | Updated: 9:11 pm

The great thing about Tyrann Mathieu is that we are finally talking about what he is doing on the field and not off of it.

Since the talented but troubled former LSU star was selected by Arizona in the third round of the NFL Draft, all the discussions about the “Honey Badger” have been about his controversial past. His getting kicked off of the Tigers football team for failing multiple drug tests, his admission that he failed more drug tests than he could count and even questions about his contract with Arizona and whether he would get any guaranteed money. Peter King of Sports Illustrated had reported at one time that Mathieu would not receive any fully guaranteed money in his rookie contract.

So watching him play the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers was a welcome relief from all of the negativity. And to watch him get a sack, make a few tackles and return a punt 24 yards was an early indication that the Cardinals gamble on the former Heisman finalist might just pay off. Now we look forward to his start against Dallas on Saturday to see what else he can do.

I’m sure there are plenty of people rooting against Mathieu and hoping he fails. But why? Hopefully he learned from his mistakes. Hopefully he was just a young, immature kid who did some dumb things. Hopefully he was humbled by getting kicked off his team and seeing his draft stock plummet to the third round.

Hopefully he is not Michael Beasley. Now everyone that knows me just a little knows that I knew Beasley was going to fail again. It was inevitable. There was no way he was going to stay out of trouble. No chance. You could have taken it to the bank. But Beasley was easy to predict because he was such a screwup as a pro and you knew he just didn’t care.

Mathieu made his mistakes in college, so there is the belief that he is eager to prove people wrong, hungry to earn real NFL money on his next contract and, with proper guidance and mentoring from players like Patrick Peterson and Larry Fitzgerald, will actually overcome his demons.

There is no telling whether Mathieu takes advantage of this second chance or not. So far, so good. Fingers crossed.

But there is no reason to root against him. It would be nice to see a troubled youngster rebound and make something out of the talent he has.

Arizona Cardinals

Krys Barnes #51 of the Green Bay Packers breaks up a pass intended for Devine Ozigbo #28 of the New...
Alex Weiner

Cardinals agree to 1-year deal with former Packers LB Krys Barnes

The Arizona Cardinals agreed to terms with 24-year-old inside linebacker Krys Barnes on a one-year contract, the team announced on Saturday.
1 day ago
Wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins #10 of the Arizona Cardinals lines up during the NFL game against the...
Wills Rice

Report: Cardinals may want ‘Christian McCaffrey package’ for DeAndre Hopkins

The Cardinals are sticking to their guns in asking for a second round pick for wideout DeAndre Hopkins, ESPN's Jeremy Fowler reported.
1 day ago
Defensive back Christian Gonzalez #0 of the Oregon Ducks returns an interception in the third quart...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ mock draft scenarios: Arizona deals the No. 3 pick

Trade the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft or keep it? That’s the question Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort will have to answer soon enough.
2 days ago
Arizona Cardinals' owner Michael Bidwill, left, new head coach Jonathan Gannon center, and general ...
Tyler Drake

NFL dates to remember and how they relate to the Cardinals

As Arizona's new regime gets to work on rebuilding the organization, a look at the key dates of the offseason to circle on the calendar.
2 days ago
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal (3) warms up during Super Bowl LVII between the Kansa...
Wills Rice

New Cardinals WR Zach Pascal hungry to take whatever role necessary with team

New Cardinals WR Zach Pascal reunites with Jonathan Gannon for the third time and is ready for whatever role he's needed to play in 2023.
2 days ago
Josh Woods #51 of the Detroit Lions celebrates during the second half against the New York Jets at ...
Tyler Drake

Arizona Cardinals agree to terms with LB Josh Woods on 1-year deal

The Arizona Cardinals and former Detroit Lions linebacker Josh Woods agreed to terms on a one-year deal, the team announced Thursday.
3 days ago
It’s nice to focus on Tyrann Mathieu’s football ability