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Texans’ Tyrann Mathieu almost signed with Jets

We’ll never know how close it was, but Houston safety Tyrann Mathieu said he considered signing with the Jets instead of the Texans this offseason.

Jamal Adams, who, like Mathieu is a former LSU safety, tried to recruit Mathieu after he was cut by the Cardinals following a five-year stay in Arizona.

“Well, it was a conversation that we had. Me and Jamal are real close friends. We always try to inspire each other, motivate each other,” Mathieu told reporters Wednesday. “But, at the end of the day, the Texans were the best fit for me.”

Mathieu ended up signing a one-year, $7 million contract with the Texans; he’s exceeded his worth in 2018. On the season, he’s racked up 78 combined tackles, two interceptions and two sacks with the Texans.

If Mathieu joined the Jets, he would have been reunited with Todd Bowles, his former defensive coordinator in Arizona. Bowles coached Mathieu in his first two seasons in the NFL after the Cardinals drafted him in the third round of the 2013 draft.

Bowles, a former NFL safety himself, played a big part in developing Mathieu. During his rookie season, Mathieu recorded 68 combined tackles and two interceptions to earn All-Rookie team honors. After Bowles took the Jets head job in 2015, Mathieu made his first Pro Bowl.

Even though he doesn’t coach him anymore, Bowles has watched and admired Mathieu over the years.

“His football IQ is outstanding,” Bowles said of Mathieu during a conference call with Houston media Wednesday. “He was one of the first ones out to practice every day. He understood the game.”

Now, Bowles will need to gameplan against Mathieu. Between him in the defensive backfield and the Houston pass rush of J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney, Bowles will have a lot to worry about on the offensive side.

“He’s small in height, but he can hit you,” Bowles added. “He can play corner, he can play safety, he’s a part linebacker. He was a great addition for us in Arizona and he’s doing the same things over there.”

The idea of playing Mathieu and Adams in the Jets secondary is a mouthwatering prospect. Instead, it will be on Bowles and Bates to gameplan around Mathieu, who will surely be looking to show off in front of his former coach.

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