“Bro, I Was Depressed, Heartbroken” | Safety Tyrann Mathieu Still Recovering From Emotional Kansas City Split

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In what has been one of the wildest offseasons in NFL history, one of the moves that kind of went under the radar was the Chiefs deciding against re-signing All-Pro safety Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu.

When free agency began, Mathieu was confident he’d be returning to Kansas City, a place he’d grown as a player, while also helping them become a perennial title contender. Tyrann arrived in the city known for barbecue in 2019, and immediately helped lead K.C. to its first Super Bowl win in 50 seasons.

With Mathieu as the unquestioned leader of the defense, the team would go on to play in two more AFC championship games and one more Super Bowl. The four-time All-Pro and three-time Pro Bowl player set the tone for the defense weekly. With his great range and sure tackling, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knew he had a star on the back end, and that allowed him to mix and match coverages and pressures.

But in an offseason of change around the league, the “Honey Badger” changed locations. 

 

In an interview on the “Rich Eisen Show” last week, Mathieu discussed how he felt about that and being replaced in Kansas City.

“Bro, I was depressed. Heartbroken. Heartbroken. I could not understand it. I could not, man.”

Chiefs Made A Few Surprising Moves

When the offseason began, no one could’ve guessed K.C. would move on from both Mathieu and star wide receiver Tyreek Hill, two cornerstones of their championship runs over the last three seasons. But they did, and if you look at it closely, they may have gotten better as an overall team with the shocking moves.

By letting Mathieu walk they signed safety Justin Reid from the Texans, who’s five years younger with much less wear and tear on his body. Reid’s three-year, $31.5 million deal with $20 million guaranteed is close to the deal Mathieu signed with the Saints, three years and $28 million with $18 million in guaranteed money. That’s not a big difference, but when you consider the age and injury history of Mathieu it is.

“I Would’ve Tried To Negotiate” | All-Pro Safety Tyrann Mathieu Comes Home, Joins “Who Dat” Nation — Reluctantly?

 

“Honestly, I felt like I was a productive player really,” said Mathieu. “ I played some of my best ball in those three years. So yeah, I was hoping that I would possibly come back. But it was kind of like a two-way street. But all in all, I think it worked itself out and I think the things that I’ve accomplished with the Chiefs, I think those are things people can never take away. So just really happy to have been part of all three of those teams. I think all three of those teams were special in their own right.”

KC also traded stalwart wideout Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins and acquired a vast amount of draft capital which they used to upgrade a porous defense. Drafting edge rusher George Karlaftis and cornerback Trent McDuffie immediately improves the defense. They also added talented pass catcher Skyy Moore to replace Hill.

In three seasons with the Chiefs, Mathieu recorded 213 tackles, 16 interceptions, 38 passes defensed, six fumble recoveries, five sacks and numerous plays that highlight his superior football IQ. Intangibles that don’t show up on the stat sheet. Now he’ll be looking to do the same thing for New Orleans in Louisiana, a state where he is a beloved and played his college football at LSU.