In move that could put his life and football career back on tract, Tyrann Mathieu, who was kicked off LSU’s football team last week, has entered a drug rehabilitation center and will not attend college or play football this season.
Tyrone Mathieu, the dynamic player’s father, told New Orleans television station WVUE that his son checked into the Right Step Center in Houston on Monday. He is being mentored by former NBA player and coach John Lucus, the elder Mathieu said.
Seeking professional help is a solid move on two fronts: one, it helps Mathieu deal with his apparent problems with drug usage; two, it shows future teams – from LSU, other among the 20 that have already shown an interest in him and, significantly, NFL teams, that he has worked to get a handle on the situation.
Mathieu was kicked off LSU’s team last Friday for what a source told ESPN was a violation of the school’s substance-abuse policy. The violation came just months after he won the Bednarik Award as the nation’s best defensive player as a sophomore while becoming the first defensive back to be a Heisman finalist since 1997.
There was rampant speculation on where he might end up. He had met with at least one school’s coach and the idea of returning to LSU seemed to be an option if he sat out the year and showed progress.
Entering rehab certainly will help his cause to return to the Tigers.
Mathieu, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, also had expressed interest in enrolling in classes at LSU and hoping for a return to the program in 2013, if it can be worked out with the school, according to sources. Mathieu is also eligible to enter the 2013 NFL draft.
LSU coach Les Miles said he spoke Tuesday with Mathieu and told him “just to make a great decision. Do the right things. He’ll do that.”
Miles did not say whether Mathieu was at a rehab center.
“I just wanted him to know that we’ll support him in whatever he wants to do and help him where we can,” Miles said. “At this point in time, he needs to do the things that make him happy and that makes sense for his future. If he does that, we’ll all be happy.”