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Tyrann Mathieu wants to be a Cardinal for life

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Tyrann Mathieu's immediate future involves more rehab work following his second ACL surgery in three years. When Mathieu thinks longterm, he has the Arizona Cardinals on his mind.

Mathieu is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2016 season and NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported Sunday that the star safety will be an offseason priority for general manager Steve Keim. Mathieu sounds very open to getting something done.

"Obviously, I love this team, I love this locker room, I love the coaching staff, upper management," Mathieu said, according to the team's official website. "I think this is the perfect place for me. I wouldn't mind spending the rest of my life here."

Mathieu tore the ACL in his left knee in December. He hopes to be back on the field by the summer, but said he learned from his first ACL rehab (on his right knee) and won't push past the limits of the rehab process.

"The first time I was kind of rushing it," he said. "I wanted to get back so fast I didn't come back quite how I wanted to. Now I want to take my time with this, so I can come back 100 percent and not have one of those 2014 seasons."

Mathieu finished his shortened season with five interceptions, a touchdown, 17 pass breakups, 80 tackles and a forced fumble. He likely would have garnered serious consideration as Defensive Player of the Year had he stayed upright.

It will be interesting to see if the second ACL injury depresses Mathieu's value any. He was a safe bet to become one of the highest -- if not the highest -- paid safeties in football before the injury. If the Cardinals pay him top dollar, it will represent a serious gesture of both faith and goodwill.

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