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Tyrann Mathieu won't rule out missing start of season

Pump the brakes on any assumptions that Tyrann Mathieu will be on the field when the Arizona Cardinals open their season Sept. 11 against the New England Patriots.

Mathieu, currently rehabbing his way back from a second torn ACL in three seasons, wants to make sure he's right before resuming a NFL career that has burned bright when at full health.

"If I'm 90 percent, then I don't necessarily want to go out there," Mathieu said Sunday, according to The Arizona Republic. "But if I'm 100 percent, I definitely want to be out there.

Mathieu comes from a place of experience. He wasn't the same player in 2014, when he played in 13 games in his first year back after an ACL and LCL tear in December 2013.

"I looked at the stat sheet at the end of the season and thought, 'That's not me,'" he said.

In his column on the biggest weak points of NFC rosters, colleague Gregg Rosenthal pointed out how vulnerable the Cardinals are in their secondary, particularly at cornerback. Playing without Mathieu -- or with a limited Mathieu-- could mean serious trouble for a Super Bowl-or-bust squad trying to advance past the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson and Cam Newton.

The Cardinals need the old Honey Badger in the worst way. If he needs additional time to get back to being that guy, Arizona must find a way to fill the void.

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