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Tyrann Mathieu ready to begin NFL career in Arizona

NFL teams usually don't hold press conferences for third-round draft picks who haven't even had their first practice.

The Arizona Cardinals' decision to do so Thursday was an acknowledgement that Tyrann Mathieu isn't a normal third-rounder.

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Mathieu's stardom crashed and burned at LSU in one of the most public displays of self-destruction in college football. He is hoping to rise from those ashes like a phoenix but knows only his play on the field will silence the questions off it.

"Just letting my actions speak for themselves," Mathieu said, via the Arizona Republic. "I think that solves everything. I'm looking forward to it. I definitely have a long journey in front of me, definitely going to be some challenges, but I think I'm prepared for it."

In order to leave his former lifestyle behind him, Mathieu is trying to ditch the "Honey Badger" moniker, at least for now.

"I don't have anything against the Honey Badger," he said. "It's just that Honey Badger happened at such a dark time in my life. If the little kids out there want to call me the Honey Badger, they can do that."

When he hits the field Friday for the first time in more than nine months at the Cardinals' rookie minicamp, Mathieu will take the first step in that high-stakes football rehabilitation.

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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