TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Honey Badger wants to shed his nickname.
Too many bad memories, too much of a stigma attached to the name once meant as a compliment to former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
“I understand that there’s a lot of people who love it and can’t let it go,” Mathieu said Thursday during his introductory news conference with the Cardinals. “But for me, I want people to recognize me as Tyrann. I don’t have anything against the nickname, it’s just that Honey Badger happened during such a dark time.”
It certainly was. Once one of college football’s most dynamic players, Mathieu found himself out of the game last season with his future in doubt after repeated problems with marijuana.
Mathieu spent six months trying to rehabilitate his image and was emotional after being given a second chance, sobbing almost uncontrollably into the phone after the Cardinals used a third-round draft pick on him last month.
As the Cards open their rookie minicamp this week, Mathieu is seeking a fresh start. But in regards to the nickname, there’s one situation in which he’ll still allow it.
“If the little kids out there want to call me Honey Badger, they can do that,” Mathieu said.