Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has played well enough in the second half of the year to be listed among the defensive player of the year candidates by oddsmakers, and one high-ranking executive chose Mathieu as its award-winner.
I asked Mathieu for a definition of “championship swagger” on Thursday, and he did not disappoint.
“It’s really you having the idea of where you want to go and everything that it takes to get there,” said Mathieu. “I think body language is really important, which we do a great job with. I think your commitment to the process is extremely important. Then, the film study and being prepared so that when you do go out there on Sunday, everybody knows that you know what’s going on. Like Deion (Sanders) used to say, ‘when you look good, you play good.’”
The workshopped definition can now be found on T-shirt. Later in the press conference, Mathieu was asked if he still embraces the nickname, “Honey Badger.”
“I don’t necessarily have an issue with it,” added Mathieu. “A lot of people — they’re familiar with Honey Badger, not necessarily Tyrann Mathieu. I think what I went through about seven years ago, I was just trying to get people to really detach that from Tyrann Mathieu.”
Mathieu was kicked off LSU’s football team in 2012 due to repeated violations of the school’s substance abuse policy. Mathieu went to rehab and rather than transferring, opting to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Arizona Cardinals selected Mathieu in the third round, and two years later, he was named a first-team All-Pro. He spent five years with the Cardinals and one with the Houston Texans before joining the Chiefs and becoming the defense’s clear leader.
He currently shares top marks for the Chiefs in passes defensed (10) and interceptions (3).
“I think I did a good job of that,” he said. “I think most people recognize it’s a difference — Tyrann is a good guy. I think Honey Badger — he’s emotional; he’s excited to play football. I think people know the difference now. I can live with it.”
Mathieu was then asked if he can be both Tyrann and the Honey Badger.
“Yeah I think so,” Mathieu said as he smirked. “Can I be both?”