Tyrann Mathieu shines in first practice back

In 2015, Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu was having a year to remember before he suffered a torn ACL near the end of the regular season. He missed the team’s run to the NFC Championship Game, but he is trying to make a comeback for 2016.

Mathieu made his return to the team’s practice on Sunday and he seemed to do a lot more than they expected him to. He was only going to take a few snaps, but he talked about how he wanted to push himself as far as he could go before easing off the accelerator.

“Coach told me I was going to get a couple plays in and I thought about it and said, ‘What are a couple of plays going to do for me?’ So I pushed it a little bit,” Mathieu said.“My coaches, they kind of let me do my thing. I felt great and I’m pretty pleased with where I’m at. . . .

“I was fortunate I was able to come out here today and get some work. They were surprised how I was moving, the things I was doing. They were really encouraged. … Today was a good stepping stone for me.”

Last year, Mathieu recorded 80 tackles, 17 pass deflections, five interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown, and a sack. If he can do something similar to that in 2016, there is no doubt the Cardinals will be a real contender.

Mathieu looks to make his return to the field in the team’s season opener against the New England Patriots on Sept. 11.

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