Mathieu, defense riding momentum ahead of Chiefs training camp

Jacob Lang
St. Joseph News-Press
Kansas City Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu celebrates after breaking up a pass in a game last season. Mathieu said he hopes to finish his NFL career as a Chief.

Over the course of his career, Chiefs safety Tyrann Mathieu has emerged as one of the top defensive players in all of football. 

As the vet approaches the final year of his contract in Kansas City, a new deal looks to be on the horizon, and Mathieu removed all doubt of where he wants to finish his career. 

"I can't see me wearing any other uniform," Mathieu said. "Some of these things you can't buy other places ... I would like to stay here for sure." 

Entering year nine of his career, Mathieu is leading a defense that is coming into its own under third-year defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. 

Mathieu has been a key contributor in the Chiefs' back-to-back Super Bowl appearances. He's compiled 10 interceptions and 137 tackles over his two seasons in Kansas City, being named a first team All-Pro in each. 

While he said the football side comes easy to him, Mathieu said Spagnuolo and the rest of the defensive staff have greatly helped him sharpen the mental side of his game. 

"Obviously I love football, but I think having certain guys around me, mentally it clears my head to focus on the things that are in front of me," Mathieu said. "Kudos to my coaches for taking the time out to coach the person just as much as the player." 

Mathieu is the elder statesman on a defense that features many up-and-coming young stars, including Willie Gay Jr., L'Jarius Sneed and Juan Thornhill. 

After last offseason was restricted to virtual activities due to COVID-19 protocols, Mathieu said he's seen a major improvement while working on the field. 

"I think everybody's showing up, being available, coming to work, clear mind and just focusing on football," Mathieu said. "We feel fresh, we feel motivated going forward, and for us, it's all about showing up to camp physically and mentally ready to go, and I think if we can do that, we'll be cooking with some hot grease going forward." 

A young group paired with the experienced core consisting of Mathieu, Chris Jones, Anthony Hitchens and others, the defense is building momentum heading into training camp. 

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes said it's good to see the other side of the ball coming together, and it will help the offense improve as well. 

"I'm glad that they're on my team," Mahomes said. "When you have that many playmakers who can move around and have that good of a scheme, it's going to challenge us every single day, which will make us better in the long run." 

After building relationships with his teammates and coaches over his first two years in Kansas City, Mathieu said he hopes to hold on to those, as the Chiefs pursue more championships in the future. 

"I feel like I can play football anywhere, but when you develop certain relationships with certain people, these people become a part of your life," Mathieu said. "I've been through a lot in my life, so for me, I think holding onto certain relationships, I think that kind of outweighs any monetary thing, any short feeling or emotion I may be dealing with in the moment." 

Mathieu and the Chiefs will take the field at Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph for training camp starting July 28.