Arizona Cardinals cornerback Tyrann Mathieu was surrounded by character questions heading into the 2013 NFL Draft. Once considered the most feared defensive back in college football, Mathieu was kicked off the LSU football team before the 2012 season for failing multiple drug tests. Based on some recent comments from Larry Fitzgerald, it sounds like the artist formerly known as the Honey Badger has straightened out his act.
“I absolutely love the kid,” Fitzgerald told PFT Live on Tuesday. “I love him. I mean he works his tail off every single day in practice, he comes to work, he studies plays so hard. He’s a tremendous kid in our locker room too. I mean he’s on time, he’s punctual, taking notes in meetings, just everything that you would expect out of a player of his caliber. Him and Patrick Peterson together it’s just really exciting. I’m so happy he’s on our team.”
The Cardinals got Mathieu in the third round of April’s draft in part because of his size but mostly because of his history of drug use. He made an immediate impact in a loss to the St. Louis Rams on Sunday by saving a touchdown with one of the best hustle plays you will see all season.
Mathieu offered to submit to weekly drug tests after the Cardinals selected him and was so overcome with emotion that he began crying. He also spent some time in a drug rehab facility after his dismissal at LSU, so it’s quite possible Mathieu has left the immaturity in the past. If so, he could wind up being one of the biggest steals of the draft.