Tyrann Mathieu will begin a new chapter of his NFL playing career in Houston this year, but the All-Pro safety is already familiar with his new city.
In 2005, Mathieu's family was one of the nearly one million evacuees displaced by Hurricane Katrina's deadly flooding.
"That was about 11 years ago, something like that," Mathiue said. "My family, we actually went to a shelter outside of Alexandria (La.), and then from there, we moved right outside of Houston, in Humble, Texas, and we enrolled in school there. We stayed there for about three months until the schools opened back up in Louisiana, then we went back home. Humble was definitely a residence of mine."
Mathieu attended high school at St. Augustine in New Orleans and later played two seasons at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. Now 25 years old, Mathieu admits he has an even clearer perspective on what his family and flood victims endured and overcame, during both Katrina and last year's Hurricane Harvey.
"It was tough," Mathieu said. "Obviously I was a kid at the time and I didn't really understand the responsibilities that my parents or my aunts or my uncles were facing, but it was a great challenge for us. Not only my family, but for the entire City of New Orleans. I'm sure the people of Houston can attest to the floods and hurricanes and whatnot. Just me being here, obviously I'm going to do my part to try to help this community out. Like I said, I want to do well on the field, but most importantly, I want to do better off the field."
Mathieu signed with the Houston Texans on March 16 as a free agent. As for the irony of returning to Houston over a decade later, Mathieu's response was simple.
"Yeah, I guess life comes full circle," he said.