Tyrann Mathieu, the former star cornerback for the LSU Tigers, attended the Senior Bowl practice on Monday as a spectator, with aspirations of speaking with NFL teams to convince them he is a changed person.
Mathieu was dismissed from the Tigers football program by coach Les Miles last August after failing a drug test. He was arrested in late October along with three other former LSU players, including quarterback Jordan Jefferson, after police discovered marijuana in Mathieu’s apartment.
The 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist understands that some NFL teams will be highly cautious about drafting him due to his off-the-field incidents, but is understanding of their wariness.
“I’m not really looking forward to people trusting me today or tomorrow,” Mathieu said to The Associated Press. “Trust takes time, especially when you’ve done a lot of things for people not to be able to trust you. It may take two years. It may take five years, it may take until I’m 30 years old for people to start trusting Tyrann again. But the truth is, I’m doing the right things and just looking forward to being a football player.”
Mathieu has been training for the NFL combine with former LSU cornerback and now Arizona Cardinals conerback Patrick Peterson. Before training with Peterson in Arizona, he was working out in south Florida and living with Peterson’s family.
“I took a few days off from training just to come here and meet with a few coaches and just be back around football again,” Mathieu said.
But he didn’t arrive with any meeting set up, so if he is able to meet with coaches he knows this will be his last chance to show that he has transformed into a different person.
“You’ve got to learn when to do things and when not to do things, when to party and when not to party,” Mathieu said. “Every day is football. That’s the biggest thing I got out of it. I’m just ready to live a football life.”
One of the steps that Mathieu took to transform his life was eliminate the people who he thought were negative influences and replace them with positive influences. He admitted that being surrounded by people with positive perspective about life has allowed him to keep a smile on his face.
Despite the adversities that Mathieu has been through the past several months, there are children who still idolize him as the Honey Badger and have given him an added boost of inspiration.
“I think in my career at LSU, the Honey Badger kind of just came to an abrupt end,” Mathieu said. “I’m going to give these kids something to look forward to growing up.”