Honey Badger seeks REDEMPTION

  • Article by: JOHN MCMULLEN , The Sports Network
  • Updated: April 19, 2013 - 2:32 PM

"My best friend right now is honesty," says former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu. "I want to be as open as possible because I'm trying to rebuild people's trust." Mathieu's future is one of the interesting tales in this year's NFL Draft, which runs from Thursday through Saturday.

hide

Cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (7) works out during LSU's NFL football pro day in Baton Rouge, La., Wednesday, March 27, 2013.

Photo: Sean Gardner, Associated Press - Ap

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Tyrann Mathieu could end up as a walking, talking public service announcement -- good or bad -- for the disenfranchised youth in our society.

Smoking marijuana may be cool to some and it's certainly more acceptable than ever before, but to the movers and shakers of the world -- the one's who do the hiring and firing -- it's still frowned upon.

Mathieu, the former Louisiana State cornerback who was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, is finding that out as he navigates through the NFL Draft process as a high-risk prospect. To his credit, Mathieu has taken the mature approach to his well-documented substance-abuse problems, admitting to at least 10 drug test failures while at LSU.

"My best friend right now is honesty," the New Orleans native said. "I want to be as open as possible because I'm trying to rebuild people's trust and I want those guys (NFL personnel people) to be able to trust me and I hold myself accountable."

It was quite the fall for the "Honey Badger," a dynamic playmaker who recorded 77 tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, two interceptions, five forced fumbles and four touchdowns (two on fumble recoveries and two on punt returns) for a 2011 Tigers team which finished No. 2 in the nation after losing the BCS National Championship Game to SEC rival Alabama.

Mathieu was awarded the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the best defensive player in the country. He was living on the edge, however, largely due to his drug habit. Embarrassing pictures surfaced on gossip sites around the country when a spurned ex-girlfriend accused him of being "with half of Baton Rouge," while the drug test failures continued to pile up.

Eight months after his brilliant 2011 season, LSU coach Les Miles announced Mathieu would be dismissed from the football team due to "a violation of team rules."

News outlets quickly reported that the dismissal was a result of repeated drug test failures and Mathieu eventually withdrew from the university to enter a rehabilitation program in Houston

"I don't really know exactly what Ty's specifics were, but I stand by our policy, and it really did help, in some way, identify a problem," Miles said when interviewed on NFL AM this week.

Seeking help is often the first step in turning one's life around, but Mathieu didn't take advantage of his first chance. Six weeks after being dismissed by Miles, he and three other former LSU players were arrested for possession of marijuana. With college no longer an option, Mathieu dived into the process of preparing for an NFL future by relocating to South Florida and cutting off all of the "bad influences" in his life, including close family members and ex-teammates.

He met with multiple teams during the Senior Bowl and that was followed by a so-so showing at the NFL Scouting Combine in February when he ran a 4.50-second 40-yard dash, bench-pressed 225 pounds four times and flashed a 34-inch vertical leap.

Certain general mangers have surely red-flagged Mathieu and won't even consider putting his name on their draft boards come April 25, but others will be intrigued by his upside.

A short but sturdy prospect in the mold of Antoine Winfield, Mathieu really took to the big stage in Baton Rouge.

"I think my football skill speaks for itself," Mathieu said. "I don't think I lost a step (after missing last season). I'm not totally focused on football right now. It's more about the person and getting those things I've done wrong corrected."

Like Winfield, the "Honey Badger" plays a lot bigger than he is and looks ideal as a slot defender on the next level. He also adds the potential to be an impact punt returner. His height and lack of elite closing speed could hurt him outside the numbers, however.

"He's a guy who has spectacular ball skills. I've never seen him mishandle a ball. His vision for play, he anticipates the big play," Miles said. "If I'm an NFL team I'm going to look at him first as a punt returner, I'm going to look at him as a kick returner, and the opportunity for him to play in a number of spots as a nickel/dime corner."

Skills like that would likely place Mathieu in the second or third round if he didn't carry so much baggage.

Recently, the former Tigers star embarked on a 10-stop tour with teams around the league in the hopes of selling the "Honey Badger" brand and at least explaining his troubled past.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 88 FINAL
Washington 101
Orlando 102 FINAL
Charlotte 94
Memphis 101 4th Qtr 0:12
Miami 95
Indiana 93 4th Qtr 6:51
Brooklyn 77
New Orleans 92 4th Qtr 2:56
Chicago 99
Atlanta 60 3rd Qtr 3:25
Milwaukee 57
Philadelphia 32 2nd Qtr 0:32
Utah 44
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 FINAL(SO)
Buffalo 4
Detroit 3 FINAL(OT)
Ottawa 2
Carolina 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
New Jersey 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 3
Boston 2 FINAL
Columbus 6
Winnipeg 4 FINAL(OT)
Minnesota 3
Washington 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 4 3rd Prd 17:00
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 1 3rd Prd 13:13
Nashville 3
Anaheim 1 3rd Prd 11:36
Arizona 1
Chicago 2 2nd Prd 16:16
Colorado 2
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 77 FINAL
Georgia 86
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 55 FINAL
Ohio State 100
Presbyterian 65 FINAL
Virginia Tech 87
Brescia 42 FINAL
Western Ky 89
Tennessee St 43 2nd Half 4:43
Tennessee 55
Kennesaw St 18 2nd Half 20:00
Illinois 54
Colorado State 24 2nd Half 18:37
New Mexico St 24
Portland 34 2nd Half 13:14
San Diego 33
Wayland Baptist 36 2nd Half 16:35
Utah State 39
Bristol University 35 2nd Half 18:38
Weber State 56
Sacramento St 39 2nd Half 16:55
Utah Valley U 36
Southern Utah 0 1st Half 18:53
UNLV 3
SD Christian 0 1st Half 20:00
San Diego St 0
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 17 3rd Qtr
(24) USC 24
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 87 FINAL
Portland 65
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close