Tyrann Mathieu’s time in Kansas City appears to have ended. How will his three years in Kansas City be remembered?
The Chiefs signed safety Justin Reid on the first day of the NFL’s free-agent frenzy from the Houston Texans. He got a three-year $31.5 million deal to replace Mathieu at the starting free safety position.
It is a smart business and football move for the Chiefs. Reid is nearly six years younger, more athletic, and cheaper. The signing has been praised by almost everyone in the football community as a solid replacement for Mathieu. Getting faster and more athletic on defense has to be a high priority for the Chiefs this off-season. Of course, the contract was important as Mathieu is looking for a much larger contract.
So yes, Chiefs Kingdom, as much as you may not want to admit, moving on from Mathieu is the right decision. It is essential that nobody is saying that Mathieu is washed up or it’s good riddance. I have seen some people take that route, and while I respect everyone’s right to their opinions, that’s just the wrong one.
I would say he has lost a step, but when a great player loses a step, he’s still better than most. He wants a big-money contract, and I would agree that he deserves one. That doesn’t fit into the Chiefs’ current situation with their finances and the defensive rebuild that began last season. This isn’t a Dee Ford dumping or a Tony Gonzalez running away case. It is simply the business of the NFL.
But now that it is over, it is time to look back on the three years of Mathieu with the appreciation he deserves. It started on March 14, 2019, when Mathieu signed a three-year, $42 million contract with the Chiefs. They were looking for a replacement for Eric Berry, who had become unplayable in the NFL due to injuries.
A new field general at the safety position was needed, and they found a significant upgrade in Mathieu. He was every bit the leader that Berry was plus four years younger. Mathieu was healthy and dependable to be able to play every week.
Mathieu only played in 56 out of 58 possible games in three seasons. It is cliche to say that the best ability is availability; very few are more available than he was in KC. That means a lot when you are the leader on the field and in the locker room. A true leader is in the fight with his soldiers, which is the same in every walk of life.
He played in every game, and he played at an All-Pro level. He was named the All-Pro second team in 2019 and the first team in 2020. Mathieu went to the Pro Bowl in 2020 and 2021. He recorded 213 tackles, three sacks, 13 interceptions, 27 passes defended, and two touchdowns in his three years with the Chiefs.
Let me show you the best three years of Berry’s statistics to put those numbers into perspective. 230 tackles, five sacks, 11 interceptions, 30 passes defended, and five touchdowns. Remind you those are not three consecutive years; those are just taking the three highest statistical years in each category. I don’t think it is out of line to say that Mathieu was better in his three years in KC than Berry was in his eight. At the least, he was far more consistent and dependable.
His legacy does not end on the field, though, as he has been a blessing to the people of Kansas City off the field. The Tyrann Mathieu Foundation helps impact the lives of financially disadvantaged children and youth in the Kansas City community. It also helps the same children in his hometown of New Orleans. The foundation gives backpacks filled with supplies to kids every year and gives them access to technology centers. The centers are called Tyrann Mathieu Tech Zones and provide technological tools to kids who would not otherwise have access. He also donates Thanksgiving turkeys to hundreds of families every year.
This past season, Mathieu was the Chiefs nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. The award goes to an NFL player who has a significant impact on their community. It is hard to find a player who has had a bigger impact on his community. Besides his foundation, Mathieu is a regular around KC at local children’s hospitals and charity events. His family has set roots with his wife Sydni opening a store, Jill Marie Boutique, in Zona Rosa. He made KC his home.
Mathieu was paid very well to be the leader and charitable citizen he has been. He was also brought in to be the missing piece to bringing a Super Bowl to Kansas City. It had been 50 years since the Lamar Hunt trophy resided in Arrowhead Stadium. Mathieu brought Lamar back to KC and the Vince Lombardi Super Bowl trophy home.
The Chiefs paid Mathieu $42 million, and he earned every single cent. If you know anyone who says we overpaid for him, please direct them to me so they can explain that insanity to me. He brought a Super Bowl to a city that hadn’t seen one in 50 years. He was an All-Pro player on the field and a Pro Bowler in his worst season of the three. Under his watch, we hosted three AFC title games and made another Super Bowl on top of the one we one. In just three seasons, he did things no other safety in the franchise’s history has done.
I don’t know where Mathieu will end up this off-season. I know that he will always have a home in Kansas City. He will get a very loud standing ovation if he returns to Arrowhead in another uniform. After he retires, he will bang the drum and be a welcoming face at any charity function or team gathering. The people of Kansas City will continue to embrace his charity and his family.
If he makes the NFL Hall of Fame, you will see a crowd full of red Mathieu jerseys. Despite only playing in KC for three years, I would support his name going on the stadium as part of the Ring of Honor.
Mathieu may be leaving the Chiefs, but he will forever be a part of Kansas City. Years ago, the Kansas City Royals created a slogan called “Forever Royal.” That always struck a chord with me because I always have and will always be a Royals fan. But I will also be a Chiefs fan forever. Once that gets into your blood, it becomes a part of you. I genuinely believe Kansas City got into the blood of Mathieu, the same way it flows through all of us. So like Eric Hosmer, George Brett, Neil Smith, and hundreds of other players and millions of regular people, Tyrann Mathieu will be #ForeverKansasCity.
What was your favorite moment from Tyrann Mathieu with the Kansas City Chiefs? Leave a comment down below to join the discussion.
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