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Tyrann Mathieu happy to get 'fresh start' with Texans

HOUSTON -- Safety Tyrann Mathieu, who signed a one-year deal with the Texans last week, has a chip on his shoulder after being released by the Arizona Cardinals.

"I just want to prove my point that I'm one of the best safeties in this league," Mathieu said Monday. "Obviously I had some setbacks, I had some challenges and I tried to take those challenges head-on.

"I'm really just trying to come here with a clean slate. It's a fresh start for me. And I'm just trying to prove my point again."

Mathieu has ended three of his first five NFL seasons on injured reserve, including tearing his left ACL and LCL in 2013 and his right ACL in 2015. Last year, he played in all 16 games for the first time since entering the NFL in 2013; he finished with two interceptions, 78 combined tackles and seven passes defended in 2017.

Not only did Mathieu play a full season, but his 1,263 total snaps -- 1,056 on defense and 207 on special teams -- were the most in the NFL and the most he has played in a season by more than 250.

Mathieu, 25, was released last Wednesday, just before $5.75 million of his 2018 salary and $8 million of his 2019 salary were to be guaranteed. He signed with the Texans on a one-year, $7 million contract with $6.5 million guaranteed.

"At this point in my career, getting released on the beginning of the new league year, I felt like I had to make a decision fast," Mathieu said of why he signed a one-year contract. "But I wanted to make a safe decision, I wanted to make one I was comfortable with."

That decision was joining Houston, where Mathieu is hoping to prove that despite the injuries he had to overcome and the fact that he was released by the Cardinals, he's the All-Pro safety he was in 2015.

"I just want to come to a group of guys who are hungry," Mathieu said. "Obviously I'm very hungry at this point in my career. I want to come to a team that has great potential, a team that was dominant on defense. I think I made the right choice."

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