One of the best stories in the NFL this season has come to an unfortunate ending.
Former LSU standout and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu tore his right ACL on Sunday night and will miss the remainder of the season, according to AZCardinals.com’s Darren Urban.
The 23-year-old Mathieu, better known as “Honey Badger” during his days at LSU, was one of the top candidates for Comeback Player of the Year honors this season.
In 14 starts, Mathieu amassed 80 tackles, in addition to 16 passes defended. Mathieu was also tied for the Cardinals lead in interceptions with five, including a 33-yard pick-six. He also recorded a forced fumble and a sack.
Earlier this month, Pro Football Focus proclaimed Mathieu as one of the best and most versatile defensive backs in the NFL. The former LSU star spends about 77.6 percent of his snaps at safety and other sub-packages at corner, according to the statistics website. However, he has filled in at almost every back-seven position this season, including linebacker.
Over the past three seasons, the Cardinals defense has been superior with Mathieu on the field. Without him, the Cardinals own a 1.9 touchdown-to-interception ratio and allow opposing quarterbacks a 60 Total QBR, according to ESPN Stats & Info. With Mathieu, they have a 1.1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and opposing quarterbacks have a 46 Total QBR.
Mathieu has torn his ACL twice in the past 24 months. The first injury occurred in to his left knee in December 2013 when he was in the mix to the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.