HOUSTON (AP) — The “Honey Badger” is headed to Houston.
The Houston Texans said Monday they had signed unrestricted free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu and claimed wide receiver Sammie Coates off waivers from Cleveland.
Mathieu was released last week by Arizona after five seasons when the two sides couldn’t rework his contract. The 25-year-old safety was due for $18.75 million of his contract to be guaranteed when the league year officially began and Arizona saved nearly $5 million in cap space by cutting him.
He has 11 career interceptions, four sacks, 41 passes defensed and 303 total tackles in 66 NFL games during a career plagued by injuries. Only last season did Mathieu appear in all 16 games and he finished with two interceptions along with 74 tackles. He was an All-Pro in 2015, when he had five interceptions and 17 passes defensed.
Mathieu became a star in the Arizona secondary after being selected in the third round of the 2013 draft following a troubled college career at LSU. A finalist for the Heisman Trophy as a sophomore, he got into trouble with marijuana and eventually was kicked out of school. Mathieu spent an entire season out of football and slid to the third round before the Cardinals took a chance on him.
His rookie season ended prematurely when he tore the LCL and ACL in his left knee.
His big 2015 season was cut short when he tore the ACL in the other knee. His absence was sorely felt as the team that went 13-3 before being routed by Carolina in the NFC championship game.
Despite the injury, the Cardinals rewarded him with a five-year, $62.5 million contract, with $15.5 million guaranteed. Off the field, he was a model citizen and with his fierce style and natural charisma, was among the most popular players on the squad.
The 24-year-old Coates was a third-round pick by Pittsburgh out of Auburn in 2015.. He spent two seasons with the Steelers before joining the Browns last year. He has 28 career receptions for 516 yards and two touchdowns in 32 regular-season games played, including six starts.
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