NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Two years ago, former LSU spark plug Tyrann Mathieu brought down his first career NFL interception in front of his hometown crowd at the Superdome. Entering his third season, Mathieu gets another chance to face the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees, this time with the Arizona Cardinals playing host.
Mathieu spoke with the New Orleans media leading up to the game and the following is a copy of that conversation, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Is there any special significance for you facing the Saints?
"Not really. It's just another football game. Being from there, most of my family are Saints fans. That would kind of be the only significance of it."
Did you grow up a Saints fan?
"No, I wasn't necessarily a Saints fan. I was a fan of individuals. I liked Joe Horn and I liked Deuce McAllister. I wasn't really a big Saints fan. They weren't that good when I was growing up."
Were you disappointed about that LSU game you were at the other night?
"A little disappointed. Obviously I had been talking to a few guys on the team and they were pretty excited and pumped up for the game, just to have it get rained out. I'm able to get to see those guys once or twice every two or three years, so I was real excited to be a part of the experience. It was unfortunate that it rained."
Did you meet Delvin Breaux that night?
"I did actually. I met him in a suite that night."
What are your memories of him? He's a couple years older, but you guys would have been teammates at LSU if he hadn't hurt his neck?
"Yes, at LSU. He was a couple years older than me, so we weren't on the same pee-wee league teams. I did have an opportunity to watch him play. Like a lot of people (think), if he had not hurt his neck, I think he would be in the same conversation as Patrick Peterson, because he did have some of the same physical tools. He was big, strong and fast and until he hurt his neck he just completely dominated high school receivers."
Would it be cool Sunday to see him at warmups, see him in the NFL in the same stadium as you?
"Yes, definitely. I'm extremely proud of him and happy for him. I knew he'd been dying for this moment for so long. He should have been in the NFL. It's going to be fun for him to get out there. I'm excited to see him perform at a high level."
You intercepted Drew Brees a couple years ago in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. What do you make about his level of play in recent years? Do you still see him at 36 years and 10 years with the Saints as one of the elite quarterbacks in the NFL?
"There's no doubt about it, it doesn't matter who you put around that guy. The offense runs through him. His confidence level, his understanding of the system that those guys are running over there is unbelievable. That in itself, it's tough to beat guys like that, guys who are so comfortable in their system and just understand it so well. Watching him on tape and watching him on film, he's probably still one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, let alone his confidence, his awareness in the pocket (and) his overall accuracy I think is very underrated."
How do you feel now healthwise?
"I'm excited. It's been a while since I've been 100 percent healthy. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and put some new things on the tape. I hope it's some great things I put out there on Sunday."
Bruce Arians said you are one of the faces of the franchise and active in the community. How have the last couple years been for you?
"It's going great. I can't complain. It's been a dream come true. Me being in an environment that I'm in with some great coaches. It's just fun to come to work every day."
Do you come back home a lot when you can?
"I try to focus on what I have to focus on. A lot of my family members are back home. I want to see them and try to see them as much as I can, but I'm on a different path on my life. I try to stay focused on that and not necessarily let anything distract me. I do miss my family from time to time.
Does Arizona almost feel like a different planet from New Orleans given the climatic and geographical differences?
"Yes, it is a cultural shock to come out here. It's hot out here as it is in Louisiana. The people and everything is different, the food. I've been lucky enough. I think I've adjusted well these past three years."