Mathieu met with the Houston media on Monday afternoon.
Mathieu met with the Houston media on Monday afternoon.

The YouTube Saga Of Houston Texans Safety Tyrann Mathieu

I'll admit that before he became a Houston Texan via verbal commitment last Friday, I wasn't totally aware of Tyrann Mathieu's entire life story. I knew about all of the things that had happened with him, beginning with his freshman year at LSU, both good and bad — the Heisman finalist season in 2011, the big plays, and all of the weed-related peccadilloes, which eventually led to his dismissal from LSU and early entry into the NFL.

Amazingly, Mathieu's ride in the NFL has been exemplary and inspiring, but I had little clue about everything he'd endured during his childhood and adolescent years, such as his mother essentially abandoning him, leaving him to be raised by his grandparents. (NOTE: Mathieu's father has been incarcerated for murder for most of Mathieu's life.) I was unaware that when Mathieu's grandfather died in 1997, Tyrann was adopted by his aunt and uncle. I didn't know that they'd been displaced by Hurricane Katrina, and they found refuge for several months in Humble, Texas. The totality of what Mathieu lived through before becoming a teenager is enough to make your head spin, when you consider the type of adult he's become.

Eventually, Mathieu and his family found their way back to New Orleans where he was a star at St. Augustine High School, lettering in both football and track. That's where the internet and YouTube allow us to pick up the Mathieu story, during his high school years, and until the NFL Network decides to produce a Football Life chapter on the "Honey Badger," we must piece it together from YouTube footage.

That's where I come in! I've done that for all of you! You can thank me later, but here is where those of you not totally familiar with the entire Mathieu saga can get up to speed, and where those of you who know his whole deal can relive everything, good and bad, that Mathieu's been through in his adult life.

So, here we go, beginning with Mathieu's high school highlight film....

Mathieu was rated the 13th best cornerback in the country, and eventually chose to take his talents to LSU, and despite being one of the more lightly recruited prospects in his class, he got on the field nearly immediately. He played in all 13 games as a freshman, but his breakout game was the 2011 Cotton Bowl Classic, where he recorded seven tackles, one tackle for loss, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, one interception, one sack, and one pass breakup, in winning Most Outstanding Defensive Player honors.

That performance carried over to 2011 in a huge way, as Mathieu became a Heisman finalist in his sophomore year and won theChuck Badnarik Award for the nation's top defensive player. Enjoy the highlights and the 2011 Heisman ceremony....

2012 was not exactly the best of years for Tyrann Mathieu. It began with LSU getting smoked in the national title game by Alabama, and was all downhill from there. In August, LSU head coach Les Miles dismissed Mathieu from the program, and in October, Mathieu and three of his former LSU teammates were arrested for possession of (lots of) marijuana.....

On November 29, 2012, Mathieu announced that he would be entering the NFL Draft, amidst much skepticism over his ability to stay sober. Well, self awareness kicked in just in time for Mathieu to show teams what he can do at the combine and at his pro day....

... leading to the Cardinals selecting him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.....

Mathieu likely would have been selected much higher than the 69th pick in the draft without all of the off-field baggage he toted around during his time at LSU 9and after his dismissal from LSU), and the Cardinals realized that value practically from the time Mathieu inked his rookie deal. His best season as a pro was in 2015, when he was a first-team All Pro and was in contention for the Degensive Player of the Year Award, which ironically was won by his new teammate, J.J. Watt.....

Injuries took their toll on Mathieu, though, as his 2015 season ended with a torn ACL, and as he battled shoulder injuries in 2016. In 2017, he was able to play in all 16 games, but it didn't matter to the Cardinals, who asked Mathieu to take a pay cut on his $11 million payday in 2018....

....which Mathieu refused to do, leading to the Cardinals releasing him, making Mathieu a free agent....

..... and eventually leading to the Texans signing Mathieu to a one year, $7 million deal....

And now you're up to speed on the Tyrann Mathieu saga!

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 2 to 6 p.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanTPendergast and like him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/SeanTPendergast.

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