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Tyrann Mathieu ahead of schedule, Cardinals GM says

Nearly four months removed from tearing the ACL and LCL in his left knee, Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu has reason to be encouraged by his progress.

Coach Bruce Arians told SiriusXM NFL Radio this week that Mathieu is "several weeks" ahead of schedule in his rehab from reconstructive surgery.

General manager Steve Keim echoed that assessment in an interview with ProFootballTalk's Mike Florio, noting that Mathieu "works his tail off" and is "really ahead of schedule in his rehab."

Keim labeled his promising young ballhawk a "football junkie," who has "been fantastic, almost to the point where we have to kick him out of the building."

The Cardinals have yet to put a timetable on Mathieu's return. Overcompensating for a knee injury of this magnitude often leads to soft tissue problems with the hamstring and groin.

A legitimatecandidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors entering December, Mathieu won't be the same player early in his second season.

With Antonio Cromartie joining Patrick Peterson in an upgraded secondary, the Cardinals can afford to play it cautiously until Mathieu regains "Honey Badger" status as the season goes along.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" reviews potential landing spots for DeSean Jackson and declares this week's winners and losers.

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