For a young defensive back like Arizona's Tyrann Mathieu, the quick exchange he had before Sunday's game must have been pretty cool.
Houston safety Ed Reed, a sure Hall of Famer and one of the greatest safeties in NFL history, sought out rookie Mathieu before the game to offer a few kind words and some encouragement.
A Cardinals staffer came to him and asked what Reed (who was cut this week by Houston) said to him.
"Actually he said I was the next great one," Mathieu said during NFL Films' "Sound FX," exaggerating just a touch.
The way Mathieu's rookie year is going, that proclamation doesn't seem so crazy.
Mathieu, who became a household name for his great plays at LSU, his "Honey Badger" nickname and his personal troubles off the field that led to his suspension for the 2012 season, has had a great rookie year so far. Judging by the "Sound FX" episode with him, he has not just made a lot of plays, he's also becoming a leader for the Cardinals.
Mathieu is shown during last week's game against Houston constantly encouraging teammates in the huddle and on the sideline. That kind of vocal leadership is something not often seen by a rookie, especially considering the Cardinals defense has a few established stars.
A few years from now, maybe Mathieu will be the one seeking out the next star safety to give him some kind words before a game.
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