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Bill O’Brien says Texans wanted to keep Tyrann Mathieu

Texans, Chiefs, Tyrann Mathieu, Bill O'Brien

Tyrann Mathieu is set to take on his former team when the Kansas City Chiefs go up against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Ahead of the anticipated divisional round matchup, Bill O’Brien made it clear that Houston wanted to keep Mathieu last offseason.

“It was hard. He’s a great guy,” O’Brien said, via Dave Skretta of the Associated Press. “He’s got awesome leadership qualities, you know? Really instinctive, good football player. Cares about his team. Cares about his teammates. But that’s the NFL. The NFL, every team has a salary cap to deal with, every player has the ability once they reach free agency to do what’s best for him and their family. We have a ton of respect for Honey Badger. He did a great job for us last year.”

Before the 2018 season, the Texans were able to sign Mathieu to a “prove it” deal that was worth $7 million over one season. In his one season in Houston, the playmaking safety contributed 89 tackles, three sacks, eight deflections, and two interceptions.

Following his year with the Texans, Mathieu was set to become an unrestricted free agent. After a failed attempt by the Texans, Mathieu chose to sign a three-year, $42 million deal to join Kansas City’s defense.

The versatile safety has made a noticeable difference for the Chiefs’ defense in 2019 like he did for the Texans in the year prior. Over the course of the season, Mathieu racked up 75 tackles, two sacks, 12 deflections, and four interceptions. His four interceptions are the most that he’s had in a season since 2015.

When Mathieu joined the Chiefs, many believed that Houston allowed the talented safety to walk without offering him a contract. Contrary to belief, Mathieu departing the Texans for Kansas City wasn’t for a lack of effort.