When Tyrann Mathieu tore his ACL and LCL Dec. 8, it was clear he was in for a long rehab process — even the Honey Badger knew that. How long was long, however, was anyone’s guess. General Manager Steve Keim said the initial thought from the Cardinals’ medical staff was a six-to-nine month comeback. Keim, looking at the kind of person Mathieu is, isn’t about to rule out Mathieu returning sooner rather than later.

“Tyrann is not the type of player you put a time limitation on,” Keim said. “He is so passionate, so hungry and is definitely a different type of player than most guys. His toughness, his intensity he brings every day is completely different than a lot of guys I have seen come in the building. To put a timetable on Tyrann I think is wrong. He’d be back for the season if I had to bet on it.”

It’s so early in the process. Mathieu had his surgery Dec. 13, and said the day before he was hoping to have an Adrian Peterson-like comeback next season. While tearing an ACL isn’t as career-threatening as it once was, it still isn’t an easy road to travel. Even Mathieu acknolwedged that (plus, Badger had the LCL problem on top of it.) Robert Griffin III played all season after tearing his ACL late in the 2012 season, but he never really looked right and who knows how much of that had to do with his knee?