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METAIRIE, La. This homecoming was worth the wait for Tyrann Mathieu.
Not just the last many weeks of free agency, where the triple first team All Pro had hopes of what he called a “perfect” fit with his hometown New Orleans Saints. But the 10-year-old veteran insisted Wednesday that this was something he had “manifested” in the past few years, even while thriving with the Kansas City Chiefs.
“This was the place I always wanted to be. And I think most people around me, they wanted it too,” said Mathieu, pointing out that the Saints were the only team he personally visited under the free agency , before signing. a three-year deal that sources told ESPN’s Adam Schefter is worth $ 33 million with $ 18 million in guarantees.
“From there, it was almost about everything falling apart and that it fit,” Mathieu said. “But I’ve kind of manifested this for a while now. Just having that option means a lot to me.”
I WISH MY BEST COULD SEE THIS! https://t.co/pWveHfKmx5
– Tyrant Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) May 4, 2022
Mathieu only hinted at a desire to prove that the Chiefs (and other teams) were wrong, telling the Saints’ podcast: “As good a football player as I think I am, maybe I’m not good enough, so that is what keeps me motivated. “
And when a reporter mentioned that Mathieu is turning 30 on May 13, he joked in response, “You said 30 is like it’s old. I’m just warming up.”
For the most part, however, Mathieu said he is excited to join a Saints defense under new head coach and former coordinator Dennis Allen, whom he has admired from afar for several years. And he’s just as excited about “influencing the community I grew up in.”
The feeling is mutual among the Saints’ fan base, where his jersey is already in high demand.
There was a time when the former LSU and St. The Augustine High School star said it was best for him to leave southern Louisiana.
After the Heisman Trophy finalist was fired from the LSU team for several failed drug tests in 2012 and later arrested for a charge of possession of marijuana, Mathieu decided to change his surroundings and move away from some negative influences as he focused on mature and revive his football. career.
So in 2016, after former Saints star Will Smith was shot and killed in New Orleans, Mathieu was vocal about how he did not feel safe enough to spend more than two days in his former city – he later explained that his comments were linked to his feelings of losing loved ones over the years.
However, Mathieu returned to host a youth camp later in 2016 and has been hosting camps ever since. He has also in recent years returned more and more to Baton Rouge, where he has been a big LSU supporter.
“To be honest, I’ve lived a long life in this NFL thing,” Mathieu said with a laugh Wednesday. “When I realized that the Saints wanted me, and of course I wanted them, it was a situation I knew I would not want to miss.
“New Orleans has always been a great place, this has always been a great community. I think 10, 11 years ago when I was a 20 year old kid, I think it was just important for me to remove myself.from certain things, certain environments so that I could work on myself and reach myself to a certain point where I can come home and be responsible and be the person I know I can be.
“I have amazing people who support me that I lean on. So I think that without those people and without my commitment to just trying to do things the right way, I think this opportunity does not would once be in front of me.So as I said, I’m just grateful to be here, to have this opportunity and to be able to get into the community and really inspire these kids to get better, to give them a little hope.