By Sam Sindell
On February 2, 2020, Tyrann Devin Mattieu helped lead the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory in the 54th Super Bowl. He was not just a solid player on their defense, but was the anchor of it, making play after play like he has done throughout his seven years in the NFL. But Mattieu’s journey to success was not an easy one, and he had to withstand great deals of problems and challenges in order to just make it into the league. So let me take you through the journey of Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mattieu.
Mattieu was born on May 13, 1992 and grew up in New Orleans with his uncle, who is also his adopted father. His biological mother left his family early in his life, and his father has been incarcerated for murder, a sentance that has contiued throughout Tyrann’s entire life. He had lived with his Grandparents, but when his Grandfather passed away, the rest of his family thought a father figure would be important for him, leading him to live with his uncle. His uncle introduced him to sports, and he fell in love with them quickly. Since he was five, he has been dominant on the field. In highschool, he was a four star recruit for Cornerback, and ranked number 13 for all recruited Cornerbacks in his class. He took his talents to his home state college, LSU, and continued his success there, earning the nickname “Honey Badger”, for being the toughest guy on the field. In his sophomore season he was a heisman finalist. But with all his success came the pressure and to deal with it, he turned to drugs. Before his Junior Year he was kicked off the team for failing multiple drug tests, and was using marijuana on a regular basis. Mattieu went to rehab and hoped to rejoin the team the following year. His friends and family really believed he would learn and grow from this experience. But then, he was arrested for possession of marijuana, a huge blow in his future that would put his chances of making the NFL in danger. Tyrann Mattieu finally realized he needed to change and he really focused on his NFL dream. He trained with teammate and best friend Patrick Peterson in Florida, which gave a good opportunity to get away from Baton Rouge and relieve stress. As he continued to stay focused and work harder, his NFL dream was becoming closer and more realistic and he was able to enter the draft.
Although Mattieu was a first round talent, he was taken with the 69th pick in the 2013 NFL draft, and was able to reunite with Patrick Peterson on the Arizona Cardinals. He spent his first five years there and was able to return to the same game-changing player he had been in his first two years at LSU. He continued to experience challenges such as tearing his ACL, LCL, Hamstring and IT Band. But after recovering, he went to the Pro Bowl and was named to First Team All Pro. Since then he has played on the Texans and Chiefs and has been one of the best and most dominant safeties in the league.
Tyrann Mattieu has had to overcome numerous challenges and obstacles to get to where he is now, and has had a life story different and harder than most. Through these hardships he has not only learned to grow as an NFL player but also as a person.