Rehab, contract talks progressing well for Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu

Jun 8, 2016, 2:44 PM | Updated: Jun 9, 2016, 11:21 am
Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu smiles during the team's mini-camp June 8, 2016. (Photo by Adam Gre...
Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu smiles during the team's mini-camp June 8, 2016. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)
(Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Impressed by his team’s offseason work, Arizona Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians canceled the last mini-camp practice, sending his players off on summer vacation a day early.

The seven-week break before the team reports for training camp likely will be anything but a break for safety Tyrann Mathieu.

One of the more popular Cardinals — if not thee most in many fans’ eyes — Mathieu figures to be busy between rehabbing from an ACL injury and work on a contract extension that may make him the highest-paid player at his position by the time he arrives at University of Phoenix Stadium on July 28.

The latter of which, though, appears to be the furthest thing from Mathieu’s mind.

“It’s not something I’m going to miss any sleep about,” he said Wednesday. “This is just moments in my life. I just try to enjoy them, and I don’t try to get too high or too low. But, if something was to happen, I’m sure it will happen.”

Mathieu is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

The two parties have discussed a new deal. Both sides want to get something done, but there has been no timetable set.

There’s also no timetable for when Mathieu will be on the field again.

He did not participate in any of the offseason work — organized team activities or the two-day mini-camp — and may be limited the first few days of training camp, according to Arians, who added defensive tackle Frostee Rucker (right ankle surgery) as “the two guys that will be the closest” in terms of being ready to go by training camp.

“We should come in (to camp) really, really healthy,” Arians said.

Mathieu is nearly six months removed from injuring his right knee at Philadelphia, costing him the remainder of the season.

Even with a shortened season, Mathieu was named a Pro Bowler for the first time and earned first-team All-Pro honors after totaling 89 tackles, a team-high 16 passes defensed, five interceptions (one touchdown), 11 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

It’s that kind of production that has the Cardinals excited about a long-term relationship with the 24-year-old safety.

“Did a lot of cutting, turning and running, so I mean I feel great,” Mathieu said, referring to where he is in the rehab process. “It’s more about me taking it slow.”

It’s the second time in three offseasons Mathieu is rehabbing an ACL tear. Back in 2013, as a rookie, he hurt his left knee. That plus a thumb injury limited his sophomore campaign.

Mathieu is determined to avoid history repeating itself, even if that means a later start to 2016.

“I really don’t have a timeline on when I’ll be back,” he said. “The most important thing is me coming back 100 percent. I think that’s most important.”

Despite the injury, Mathieu has made his presence felt here in the offseason, not just visually but vocally out on the field and in meeting rooms as he takes on a larger role within the team.

“I’m really just trying to soak in as much as I can from a coach’s perspective, from a team leader perspective, so it’s been fun although I haven’t been able to go out and actually play,” he said. “Just seeing the game from a different point of view this spring, I’ve done it in the past, so really, it was more about me helping the younger guys this offseason, getting those guys up-to-speed and trying to slow the game down for them.”

Arizona Cardinals

Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury talks with quarterback Kyler Murray (1) during the sec...
Arizona Sports

Report: Oklahoma to target Cardinals’ Kingsbury for head coaching job

The Arizona Cardinals hired Kliff Kingsbury ahead of the 2019 season after he was the head coach at Texas Tech.
17 hours ago
Anquan Boldin #81 of the Arizona Cardinals runs with the ball against the Pittsburgh Steelers durin...
Sam Graveline

Former Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin named semifinalist for HOF Class of 2022

Among the 26 players who were named semifinalists for the Hall of Fame's class of 2022, former Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin made the cut.
17 hours ago
Colt McCoy #12 of the Arizona Cardinals looks to pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the secon...
Arizona Sports

Colt McCoy’s pair of wins starting for Arizona Cardinals: By the numbers

There are a handful of notable numbers to take away from Colt McCoy's two wins as a starter for the Arizona Cardinals.
6 days ago
Chandler Jones #55 of the Arizona Cardinals reacts after his tackle against the Seattle Seahawks du...
Tyler Drake

By the numbers: The Arizona Cardinals’ dominance during their 9-2 run

There's no doubting the Cardinals' success so far in 2021. A closer look at Arizona's impressive play through 11 games.
5 days ago
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - JULY 30: JJ Watt #99 of the Arizona Cardinals talks to Chandler Jones #55 durin...
Arizona Sports

Cardinals’ J.J. Watt pays for funeral costs of Waukesha parade victims

Cardinals' J.J. Watt paid honor to the people of the Waukesha parade tragedy in Wisconsin by covering the funeral costs for all six victims.
3 days ago
Arizona Cardinals players celebrate after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 23-13 at Lumen Field on No...
Tyler Drake

Cardinals’ 2021 road success vs. NFC West rivals that of teams past

The Arizona Cardinals haven't left anything up to chance when it comes to playing on the road in 2021, especially against the NFC West.
3 days ago
Rehab, contract talks progressing well for Arizona Cardinals S Tyrann Mathieu