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Cards' Tyrann Mathieu: 'It just feels good to be free'

Tyrann Mathieu feels better than ever.

Stop us if you've heard that coming from a player during spring camp before, but this time we're inclined to believe the budding star out of Arizona.

As The Republic noted this week, he no longer has a knee brace or a cast on his thumb. The artist formerly known as the Honey Badger might be entering his first fully healthy season in the NFL.

"It just feels good to be free," Mathieu said.

The Cardinals' defense has seen plenty of change already this offseason. Their coordinator Todd Bowles is gone. Their No. 2 cornerback, Antonio Cromartie, joined him in New York with the Jets.

Having the versatile defender back at full speed can only help offset some of the departures. He's good enough to start at free safety or the nickel corner position.

"You try to stay as optimistic as possible," Mathieu said, "but there is a reality to it, too. It's kind of hard to keep telling yourself it's going to be all right, especially when we got into the thick of everything last year, thinking that if I was 100 percent, I'd probably be able to help my team a whole lot more than I'm doing right now."

The latest Around The NFL Podcast discusses Geno Smith and the Jets' QB position and much, much more with special co-host Colleen Wolfe. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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