Tyrann Mathieu waiting for full healthy season to show how good he can be

TEMPE, Ariz. -- If it wasn’t one injury for second-year safety Tyrann Mathieu, it was another this season.

Coming off ACL and LCL surgery, Mathieu didn’t find his way back into the Cardinals safety rotation until Week 6. He played well in his return, splitting time in the secondary with Tony Jefferson. Mathieu recovered a fumble in his first game back returning to significant snaps against Washington and had an interception against Dallas a few weeks later. He had 23 tackles and three pass breakups in his first eight games after returning to the rotation.

In Week 13, however, Mathieu fractured his left thumb which forced him out for two games.

“It was tough all season,” Mathieu said. “I thought once I got over my knee I was kinda getting in a groove and then I broke my thumb. That was really unfortunate.”

After Mathieu returned from his thumb injury with a large cast on his left hand that extended up his forearm, he played solid but didn’t stand out. He had nine tackles in his final three games, including the playoffs.

His offseason will be spent recovering, rehabbing and, mainly, healing.

“He’s got to get his left side rebuilt,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said.

While he’s resting this offseason, Mathieu said he’ll pay attention to the moves Arizona makes in free agency. It’ll help him understand what direction the team is going in, he said. A foundation has been built, Mathieu added, and he’s a part of it.

But Mathieu hasn’t been able to show his true worth the past two seasons, both marred by injuries. He’s waiting for a chance to show what a healthy Honey Badger can do for 16 games.

“I’m really looking forward to getting healthy,” he said, “because I know I can be really good.”