It’s quite likely that before the season gets underway, the Kansas City Chiefs want very much to extend the contract of their star safety Tyrann Mathieu.
Making the deal would do two things. First, it would lock up one of the team’s unquestioned defensive leaders for at least a few more seasons. Second, it could clear significant cap space that might yet be useful this season — or could be rolled into 2022.
And while speaking to reporters during a Zoom conference call on Thursday, Mathieu gave the clearest indications yet that the extension is likely to happen.
“As for me, I feel like I can play football anywhere — but when you look at certain relationships with certain people, these people become a part of your life,” said the All-Pro safety. “Coach [Spagnuolo], Coach Merritt, Coach Reid, Coach Rubin (our strength coach) — all of these men have been important to me. So I can’t see me ever walking away from [those] relationship[s]. I’ve been through a lot in my life, so for me, I think holding on to certain relationships kind of outweighs any monetary thing [or] any short feeling or emotion I might be feeling in the moment.”
Asked for specifics about his relationships with his coaches, Mathieu was happy to provide them — saying that he has become a better person during his time with the Chiefs.
“For me, football comes fairly easy,” he said. “But I think [it helps] when you have certain men in your life that are trying to coach the person just as much as they’re coaching a player. I think any time you have an athlete, the mental part of the game is so big ... If any athlete can find the right mental space, all of our games could really go to a new level.
“For me, obviously I love football — but I think having certain guys around me, mentally, it clears my head to focus on just the things that are in front of me. So kudos to my coaches for taking the time out to coach the person just as much as the player.”
Asked specifically if he thought a new contract was coming, Mathieu didn’t mince words.
“I do,” he said simply. “I have tremendous faith — not just in myself, but the people who surround me. I think about my family a lot. We’re extremely blessed. We’re extremely thankful for everything. And so, for me, I’ve got to keep all those things in perspective.
“I don’t consider myself a guy that necessarily does things for his own benefit. More importantly, I’m just kind of looking forward to continuing to be a Chief — continuing to help the younger guys around me, help the receivers [and] anybody I can to continue to get better. To be honest, I think that’s my focus; it should be my focus.
“Just being here the last couple of years, I can’t see me wearing any other uniform. The fans here are amazing. My teammates are amazing. I spoke about the relationships that I have with my coaches. Some of these things, you can’t buy [at] other places. I’m a guy that’s had to start over quite often, so I would like to stay here — for sure.”
And Mathieu isn’t the only one who wants to see that happen.
“He’s such a great leader on this team — and obviously a very special player,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes of Mathieu. “You want him to be here for the long run. You can tell that Chiefs Kingdom is really behind him as the leader of that defense and a leader on this team. So I definitely want him to be here as long as he can — and as long as I’m here.”