After a couple of injury-plagued seasons,
The Cardinals will need a healthy Mathieu to offseason the loss of former defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and cornerback Antonio Cromartie. In two seasons, Mathieu has 100 tackles and three interceptions but has been hampered by nagging injuries.
"It just feels good to be free," he said.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been healthy,” Mathieu said Monday. “Last year I felt like I took a back seat. I played well my rookie year and then last year it was kind of, eh, I was there but I wasn’t there. This (year) is more important for me because I really want to let everyone know I’m back and I can still make some plays.”
Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL toward the end of the 2013 season. He recently said that the comeback was "way harder than I thought."
Head coach Bruce Arians talked about how Mathieu was not himself last season.
“You saw him fight through it last year,” Arians said. “He was not the player he was used to (being) and it was very frustrating for him.”
Mathieu was aware of the chatter from the outside world and he is using that as motivation going forward.
“You hear people talk and I had time to listen to them talk, so it’s like … I hear it,” Mathieu said. “Like I said, I didn’t feel like I made enough plays last year to help our team. I am looking forward to this year because I know I can do it.”
The 22-year-old has registered 106 total tackles, one sack, three interceptions and one forced fumble in 26 games played during his two-year career.
Mathieu has played the last two weeks with a club cast on his thumb after having surgery on a broken bone.
Also set to play Saturday are
Others on the injury report include
Fitzgerald entered the contest listed as probable due to a knee injury. He was never a serious candidate to miss the game.
The club will also have
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