A good nickname can go a long way. If it is catchy and speaks to people it will add to the legend surrounding a person–like it did for the “Honey Badger.”
Except Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu doesn’t want to go by that name anymore–or does he?
The rookie from LSU has had a long, hard trip to the NFL thanks to his behavior off the field in college. His talent was never in question. It was his first style of play that led to the nickname and made him a serious candidate for the Heisman Trophy, a rarity for a defensive player.
However, that same fierce style of play was how he lived his life. After one drug-related offense too many it cost him his college career and nearly his professional one.
So if that is who the ‘Honey Badger’ is why bring him back? If the player can come back and the guy that got in so much trouble stay away it could be a real boost for the Cardinals defense.
While a nickname is just a nickname, the worry could be that Mathieu would buy back in to being the same guy that was the ‘Honey Badger’ back when the name became popular. He might forget that the current version is part of the NFL drug testing program and subject to numerous random tests every month.
It sounds as if Mathieu is trying to be smart about embracing that part of his past. At the Rookie Symposium he told the Akron Beacon Journal: “I don’t know if he’s going to come back this fall. I really don’t know. But right now, I’m happy being Tyrann. Tyrann is a fun guy, and I’m just ready to play some ball.”
He went on to say that he might if he can turn around the meaning behind the name and make it something more positive.
“So going forward, if I’m able to make the right decisions, able to be that role model for the kids, I think the ‘Honey Badger’ can be a pretty positive person.”