Late in Monday’s practice, as the Cardinals went to move between drills and the portable water stations were supposed to come with them, there was an accident. In an effort to quickly grab a water station — which includes a bucket of ice and Gatorade bottles — one of the equipment interns tipped it over. Ice spilled all over the 50-yard line.
Tyrann Mathieu, who only can stand on the sideline right now while on the PUP list and rehabbing his knee, went over to help all the equipment guys help clean it up.
Mathieu wasn’t the only one — other players helped, including injured rookie Robert Nkemdiche — but it underscored where Mathieu is on this team. Here’s a guy who is a star. He’s one of the faces of the franchise. And there he was, getting ice off the field as best he could.
That popped into my head Tuesday as the news leaked out that Mathieu was about to finally get the contract extension everyone was waiting for. It always seemed to be inevitable in my mind. I’ve spent enough time with Mathieu — including a chance to be with him for a day this summer when he returned to his hometown of New Orleans — to know how much he wanted to stay in Arizona. And it’s long become clear everyone in the organization wanted Mathieu to stay. It’s not often where a player and team are a perfect fit, but that’s the Cardinals and Honey Badger.
We’ll hear eventually about the details of Mathieu’s deal. He reportedly is getting $40 million in guarantees over five years (although so often, the
“guarantees” reported are leaked from the agent and it’s not the same definition of guarantee as the dictionary). I would also be surprised if the Cards didn’t get some kind of injury protection in the deal after Mathieu’s two ACL tears.
But this is a guy who you want to have on your team. It’s an incredible story, really, from where Mathieu came from after being bounced out of LSU and sinking in the the NFL draft. It’s hard to quantify just what Mathieu means to the Cards on the field, to the locker room, to the fan base. He has a charisma that it just so genuine, which you saw in a couple of his passionate speeches during “All or Nothing” and why teammates were so devastated that night in Philadelphia when he tore his ACL even though the Cardinals won in a blowout to capture the NFC West. Yes, it was about losing Mathieu the player, but it was also pain for Mathieu the person.
This is a deal that needed to be done. Mathieu needs to be a Cardinal.
Tags: Tyrann Mathieu
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