Mathieu thanks the Saints for their support during the absence of the camp

New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) walks between drills during training camp at their NFL Football Training Center in Metairie, La., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu (32) walks between drills during training camp at their NFL Football Training Center in Metairie, La., Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

PA

New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu wasn’t ready to explain why he missed the first week of training camp.

The important thing, he said on Thursday, was that he was back with the team and that he felt good.

“I’m sure at some point I’ll be more transparent about the first six days of training,” Mathieu said after his second practice since reporting to training camp earlier this week. .

“But more importantly, I’m happy to be back with the guys. I feel good. I’m in a good mood, really healthy. So everything important is going well.

The 30-year-old, nine-year-old NFL veteran agreed to a three-year, $33 million free agent deal with the Saints in early May. But shortly before the camp opened last week, the club announced that Mathieu had been excused for a personal matter.

“It’s a bit out of the norm for me. I’m usually one of those guys who never really misses a practice or anything like that,” Mathieu said. “At the end of the day, it’s a long season.

Saying he sees the Saints as a club with realistic playoff aspirations, he said he had time “to be where I need to be when the time is right”.

While Mathieu was reluctant to go into detail about what troubled him, he praised his teammates and the Saints as an organization for supporting him.

“A lot of times, especially with strong people, we let those people go through life and we never really show that support and ignore it,” Mathieu said. “So I think having the support of the team, having the support of the coaches – I think I’m a strong man, for the most part – but that allowed me to just embrace it, embrace this moment and embrace that support.

Mathieu’s offseason addition to the Saints’ high school was greeted with great fanfare in New Orleans, where Mathieu grew up and played in high school before playing college at LSU.

Mathieu was raised by his grandparents in New Orleans, then became a star football player and track athlete for St. Augustine High School, and he maintained deep ties to the city that raised him. , bolstered by its charitable efforts and football camps in the region. .

He also still has deep ties to LSU, where a player’s lounge in the football building is named after him.

Mathieu’s tenacious play over two seasons at LSU earned him the nickname “Honey Badger”. As a sophomore in 2011, he was a Heisman Trophy finalist and won the Bednarik Award as the nation’s best defensive player. But his college career was cut short when then-Tigers coach Les Miles fired Mathieu in the summer of 2012 for repeated drug test failures.

Matheiu spent time in a Houston rehab program, but it wasn’t until he was drafted by Arizona in the third round in 2013 that he put his life in place. Mathieu has become a reliable defensive star for coach Bruce Arians and has since added two All-Pro nods with Kansas City to go with a win at Arizona. He has also been selected for the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons.

Mathieu said a number of his Saints teammates “have been following my career for a long time. They’ve had a lot of ups and downs throughout my career.

“A lot of these guys want the best for me,” Mathieu said. “They want me to be in a great space. They want me to be healthy. They want my family to be healthy. Because at the end of the day, all of these things benefit us in some way.

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