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Tyrann Mathieu on return: 'I don’t want to go out there if I’m not the guy I was last year'

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He wants to start practicing soon, but doesn't want to be a hindrance on the field.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals fans can't wait for safety Tyrann Mathieu to get back on the field and playing. Tyrann Mathieu can't wait to get back on the field and practicing. He is hoping he will be practicing before the preseason is over.

"I expect to be at practice the next two to three weeks," Mathieu said on the team's official site. "Hopefully we can stick to that timetable."

Bruce Arians said in his Thursday media session that they "would stick with [their] original timetable and see when he comes off."

We don't know what that timetable is, although Arians has used the start of October as a possible goal for getting into a game. Mathieu said that Arians knows of his own hope of two or three weeks to get back on the practice field. "I don't think he takes me too seriously," he quipped.

One big question that everyone should have is how effective Mathieu will be once he is back. Having missed the offseason between Year 1 and Year 2, which many consider to be the most important offseason of a young player, will he be at least equal to last year. Will he improve? Or will he look different?

Mathieu was clear about playing time. "I don't want to go out there if I'm not the guy I was last year," he said.

The question is...how will he know...and how will he react if he is not initially the same player?

Yet at the end of it all, there is one thing we have seen about Mathieu. You just can't count him out and he makes it hard to bet against him. So while he might not be out there on the field in Week 1, it's hard not to think that he won't just step right in and continue to make a big impact on the field once he does make it back.