In his five-year NFL career, Tyrann Mathieu has never faced Tom Brady. On Sunday, the starting safety will do so when the Texans open their 2018 regular season at Gillette Stadium.
"It's going to be fun," Mathieu said. "Brady's special. He's a special player. I look up to him in a lot of different ways. He's the ultimate competitor. For me, it's just about getting in front of him and seeing what he's got."
Mathieu faced the New England Patriots just once as an Arizona Cardinal, back in the 2016 season opener. Backup Jimmy Garoppolo was under center as Brady was serving a four-game suspension that year.
On Sunday, he will get his first opportunity as a Texan to do so. The sixth-year All-Pro has studied Brady, whom he says is "probably one of the smartest quarterbacks that has ever played the game."
"He understands how to win, and we have to understand the importance of getting him off the football field," Mathieu said. "Because any time we keep him on the football field, he can do some good things. So, we just have to go there, be ready, communicate well, tackle well and not try to do too much."
The Texans will travel to New England for their Week 1 matchup against the Patriots. Kickoff is set for 12 noon CT on CBS and SportsRadio 610.
The Houston Texans roster in photos.