COMING OF AGE
With his sordid past behind him, the Cardinals' 23-year-old free safety is full of confidence and back to doing what he does best: picking off quarterbacks.
DAN PATRICK: Who do you credit for helping you make the transition from college to the NFL?
October 19, 2015
TYRANN MATHIEU: A number of people. Guys like [Cardinals CB and former LSU teammate] Patrick Peterson, [Cardinals] coach Bruce Arians and [GM] Steve Keim. It was a group effort to get me to believe in myself again. That was the biggest thing, to hold myself accountable and be responsible for my actions.
DP: Did you understand what you were at risk of losing when you were in college?
TM: I kind of understood. Thinking back to my LSU days, I wasn't mature. I couldn't grasp the concept that I was interviewing for a job. That was something I struggled with.
DP: There's nothing that prepares you for stardom at that age.
TM: Absolutely. I wasn't one of those big-time recruits. I didn't have the media following me throughout high school. To get to LSU, one of the best teams in the country, and be the best player on that team comes with a lot of risks and a lot of rewards.
DP: So it's easier if you are a star in high school?
TM: Kind of. I was basically an overnight celebrity. I woke up one morning at LSU and I was famous. My life instantly changed.
DP: And I'm sure the way people treated you changed.
TM: Oh, yeah. Back then I had all yes-men around me. I had no one to tell me no. I was the guy in charge, and I had no one to answer to.
DP: Do you like the nickname Honey Badger?
TM: I love it. When I came into the  draft, I didn't want people to get Tyrann Mathieu confused with Honey Badger. I didn't leave a good taste in everyone's mouth [as Tyrann], but people look at Honey Badger as some sort of superhero.
DP: How do your fellow DBs react when you make a big play?
TM: If I catch a pick, then everyone wants to catch one. We have this little game: Whoever catches an interception, the guys have to give him a gift.
DP: [You have two INTs] so far this year, so what have you gotten?
TM: I haven't gotten my gifts yet. I underperformed last year and didn't get any [gifts]. This year I'm healthy and feeling good. I'm looking forward to getting many gifts.
DP: Does a pick-six like the one you had against the 49ers in Week 3 get you something special?
TM: Absolutely. Apple just came out with a new iPhone. Hopefully one of the guys decides to bring that in.
Astros ace Dallas Keuchel told me it's a mere coincidence that he started to pitch well once he grew his now famous beard. However, one fan has a problem with it. "Dad likes it," Keuchel said, "but Mom hates it. She'll drop subtle hints, but she knows it's probably not coming off anytime soon." ... Bears running back Matt Forte said many NFL players don't have the league's rule book memorized. "There are a lot of rules," Forte said. "I bet if we did a test and asked players about certain rules, the total score would be like a C-minus." ... Rock 'n' roll legend John Fogerty wants to dispel the myth that he wrote his 1985 ballpark staple, "Centerfield," about Yankees Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio. "I intended for it to be about Jackie Robinson," Fogerty said, "that guy rounding third and headed for home."