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first_img Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “Just really got to get back to my roots, tune out all the noise and just really focus on myself and getting better each and every day.”Mathieu is not referring to anything specific, though no doubt he hears when people doubt his ability to stay healthy and question how his contract fits with the franchise going forward.“Sometimes you don’t perform up to expectations, people judge you, people critique you,” he said. “Sometimes in life, you hit road bumps; people act like they’ve never hit road bumps so it’s just really important to quiet the noise, focus on yourself and just get better.”That does not mean Mathieu plans on playing with any less fire or emotion, mind you, but instead will ignore what is said and written off of the field.While many players say they do not read press clippings or listen to sports radio, he smiled and said most of them are lying.Mathieu admitted the doubters, of which there weren’t many as recently as a year ago, “absolutely” motivate him, though he will not let their questioning of him dictate how he proceeds.“I don’t want to have any expectations,” he said. “I know some people may have high expectations of me, some people may be very critical of me. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling TEMPE, Ariz. — Not long ago, Tyrann Mathieu was an impact player for the Arizona Cardinals, a defensive back who flew around the field while filling a variety of roles.He was so important, in fact, that the Cardinals signed him to a five-year contract extension that at the time made him the highest paid safety in the league, even though he had not yet played a down following his second torn ACL in three NFL seasons. “But I think it’s important to just focus on myself and believe in myself.”Follow Adam Green on Twitter – / 20 The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelocenter_img If the Cardinals are to be the best version of themselves in 2017, a healthy Mathieu will be a big reason as to why. He is, after all, a uniquely talented and dynamic player.“That’d be it, stay healthy,” Cardinals coach Bruce Arians said of what Mathieu must do, before remembering 2015. “The season he was (having), he had a chance to be Defensive Player of the Year, but you’ve got to finish it out.”Mathieu cannot finish without starting, and he hopes Tuesday was the beginning.That said, the 25-year-old said he is not setting any goals for himself for the upcoming season, and instead wants to win each day.“At times we tend to get ahead of ourselves,” he said. “I just want to own the day, attack the day, think about the day; not worry about any expectations I may have in September.”Week 1 is nearly four months away, and plenty can happen between now and then.One thing Mathieu said must happen is the rebuilding of his confidence, which understandably took a hit last season as he battled injuries and inconsistency.For a player like him, a lack of confidence can be devastating.“Ever since I was a kid my game was pretty much built on confidence,” he admitted. “Being confident in myself, believing in myself. DB Tyrann Mathieu goes through a drill during an OTA practice May 16. (Photo by Adam Green/Arizona Sports) Comments   Share   Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Though he had battled injuries, no one seemed to doubt his ability or future with the team.Then the 2016 season happened.Mathieu made it back on the field for Week 1, but was hardly himself before a shoulder injury in Week 8 caused him to miss six of the final eight games. He finished the year with just 36 total tackles, one sack, one interception and three passes defensed.With an offseason to get healthy, the fifth-year pro took part in the first practice of organized team activities Tuesday, and not surprisingly, Mathieu said he really enjoyed the practice.“It’s just exciting to get back out there, especially with how last year, how it ended up playing out,” he said. “Just a good feeling to be healthy again and just back out there on a football field 100 percent.”The trick with the 5-foot-9, 186-pound Mathieu is that when healthy, he is one of the NFL’s premier defensive players. A safety who can drop back into coverage and be a force in the box, he was voted by his peers as the No. 28 player in the NFL following the 2015 season.In 14 games before tearing his ACL that year, he amassed 89 tackles, one sack, five interceptions, 16 passes defensed and one forced fumble while earning first Pro Bowl nod.last_img read more