Houston- After being released by the Arizona Cardinals last offseason, the Texans were quick to sign All-Pro safety Tyrann Mathieu to a one-year $7-million contract, a modest contract that has paid dividends this past season with him stepping up as one of the top leaders and performers of the defense. With that contract now expiring, all eyes are on whether or not Mathieu and the Texans can work out a new deal before free agency hits this March.
“Like I said last night, I really want to be here,” Mathieu said when asked about a long-term deal on locker room clean out day. “I love this team. I love the locker room. I love the coaching staff. Hopefully the business side of it will take care of itself, but I definitely want to be here.”
It’s no surprise that Mathieu would like to remain in Houston. The Texans won an AFC South Championship this past season, they have a franchise quarterback in Deshaun Watson, and Mathieu’s hometown of New Orleans is only a one-hour flight away. Throw in the fact that his teammates have nothing but love and respect for him, it makes sense that Mathieu would like to stay here.
“These guys mean as much to me as I mean to them,” said Mathieu. “A lot of these people here embraced me, encouraged me, and really saw the best in me. I think that was able to allow me to really have a clearer mind. Really focus on football and really focus on being a good teammate, so I think this year was a success.”
Mathieu is coming off a strong season where he tied a career high of 89 tackles while forcing 2 interceptions, 8 pass deflections, and 3 sacks. On top of that, this is his second season in a row where he has managed to remain healthy for all 16 games of the season after being bitten by the injury bug earlier in his career.
“I think, ultimately, any time you can stay healthy in this league, it’s a plus,” said Mathieu when discussing his season. “You have to make plays. I think I was fortunate enough this season to make a few of them.”
Evidently Mathieu made enough plays to be nominated as a Pro Bowl alternate this year. The best part about that is that there is still room for improvement.
“Obviously, I had some challenges within the system,” said Mathieu. “First year in the system, so I think the more comfortable I get, the better I’ll get in the system. I’m really looking forward to that as well.”