Tyrann Mathieu is changing the game The Super Bowl champ and Chiefs MVP is the NFL’s new model defender

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But what position will he play? Back in 2013, that was the main question on the minds of NFL front-office types about Tyrann Mathieu. That uncertainty, even more than the suspension and off-field concerns that dogged the Heisman finalist, kept one of the best players ever to come out of football factory Louisiana State University from being selected before the 69th pick in the 2013 NFL draft.

But what position will he play?

Seven years later, NFL teams are still asking that question. But gone is the tone of curiosity and skepticism. It’s been replaced with anxiety and fear. Because, for the Chiefs’ opponents, the dilemma that is Tyrann Mathieu is no longer theoretical. Any hope of beating the defending Super Bowl champs depends on knowing not only where on the field Mathieu will be — but what he will be.

Mathieu, representing his NOLA-based crew ERA Nation, says he is “more centered right now than in any other time” of his life.

Cover photographed by Shawn Brackbill for ESPN. Video produced by Sarah M. Kazadi, edited by Sam Nicodemo.


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