The wait is almost over. After an extended free agency process that took followers all the way through the 2022 NFL draft, Tyrann Mathieu has finally made his decision, and will return to his New Orleans hometown. After taking an offseason visit with the New Orleans Saints, all eyes have been on the Honey Badger and his potential return to the Big Easy. Now, it’s all but official. Reports say Mathieu has agreed to terms and expects to sign in the days ahead.
That’s big. It means Mathieu will play out the next chapter of his career in front of his family, his friends and a fan base that will be ecstatic about having him back in town and contributing to their favorite football team. The Pro Bowler took a virtual visit with the Philadelphia Eagles as well after the Kansas City Chiefs did not offer him a contract to return, a gesture that Mathieu said left him “heartbroken” in an interview with Sam McDowell of the Kansas City Star.
No need for heartbreak any longer though as Mathieu returns home starting with the 2022 season. It was clear that not only did the fanbase want this to happen, but Saints players past and present did as well. Fellow safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson spent the majority of the free agency period recruiting Mathieu on Twitter and even trying to set up a shootaround with him. Former Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis wrote a heartfelt note on Instagram to express that returning to New Orleans during his playing career was one of the best decisions he’d ever made. He urged Mathieu to do the same.
The former LSU Tiger is sure to have a massive impact on the field, helping New Orleans address their most glaring remaining need after the draft. But off the field is the real story here. Watching Mathieu come out of the tunnel during the Saints’ first home game is going to ignite the Caesars Superdome, the city of New Orleans, and the state of Louisiana to an unforgettable extent.
“New Orleans Saints safety Tyrann Mathieu” has a pretty good ring to it. No city loves you back the way New Orleans does. It’s clear that Mathieu has always lived his city, constantly returning to do great work within the community, speaking at LSU, and more. Now, he’ll get to see that love reciprocated on a daily basis as the Honey Badger homecoming gets under way.