After missing out the season opener against the Cleveland Browns, Kansas City Chiefs star safety Tyrann Mathieu is more than ready to suit up against the Baltimore Ravens in primetime on Sunday, September 19.
Speaking to the media Friday, the 29-year-old provided a promising update on his COVID-19 diagnosis. Though coy when asked if he’s fully healed, Mathieu was nonetheless excited about being back on the turf with his teammates.
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“I think if I’m not, then I’m getting there,” Mathieu said, via The Chiefs Wire. “Yesterday’s practice was pretty good for me just going out there having a full workload, getting back into the communication, just working with my boys. Anytime I see those guys, my teammates, it always gives you that extra energy to uplift you. So, just looking forward to kind of continuing to stack them and then getting in front of the world on Sunday night and show them what I can do.”
Kansas City defeated Cleveland 33-29 in Week 1 with a decisive interception by Mike Hugh to open the year 1-0. The Landlord said it was definitely “tough” having to watch the contentious match from the sidelines, but was nonetheless “proud” of everyone’s contribution in the lead-up to the win.
“You know, technically I wasn’t injured. I’ve been injured in this league before and when you can’t help your teammates it always puts you in a bad spot, but I was proud of the way those guys fought throughout the game. Obviously, it didn’t really start the way we wanted it to, but I thought those guys made the plays that mattered. That’s why we were able to win the game.”
Reid: ‘It’ll Be Great To Have Tyrann Back in There’
Mathieu isn’t the only person excited to be off the sidelines and back in action. Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is also thrilled to see a much-needed member of Steve Spagnuolo’s defense suiting up.
“He’s a great player. Not taking anything away from the other guys, they did a nice job back there, but you’re obviously going to miss somebody like that,” Reid said of Mathieu, according to Arrowhead Pride’s Pete Sweeney. “He’s one of your primary signal-callers back there, so it’ll be good to get him back in that role and keep the communication. Everyone is going to play. It was great experience for 22 — Juan [Thornhill] had a nice day. I was proud of him for how he handled his business. He’s still going to play, so he’s going to have an opportunity — he’s in a different group that ’Spags’ [KC defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo] has got. But it’ll be great to get Tyrann back in there.”
A pivotal game that puts the Chiefs one step closer to an undefeated season, Mathieu’s return couldn’t be more necessary.
Don’t Forget About Juan Thornhill
Mathieu’s absence was a fine time for backup safety Juan Thornhill to step into a leading role. The 25-year-old did just that, making a decisive play in Week 1 to stop a potential Browns comeback.
About halfway through the third quarter, Thornhill made a tackle on Browns RB Nick Chubb, causing him to fumble the ball. That led to a scoring drive for the hosts and completely altered the trajectory of the game, giving Kansas City a second wind and added confidence.
Quick thinking like that will be once again needed against a powerful AFC North side, so whether it’s Mathieu or Thornhill in the back, expect another memorable performance.