Former LSU defensive back and punter returner Tryann Mathieu was an attendee at the Senior Bowl’s South Team practice on Monday. However, after it was announced that two non-seniors were cleared to participate for the first time ever, the Honey Badger was at practice merely as a spectator.
[Related >> Check out the full Senior Bowl starting lineups here]
According to CBS Sports, Mathieu was hoping to speak with NFL executives in an effort to improve his image prior to the upcoming NFL Draft. However, the Honey Badger understands that his efforts will be met with skepticism, at the very least.
“They have every right to do that,” Mathieu said. “I’m not really looking forward to people trusting me today or tomorrow. 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.”
After earning a trip to New York as a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore, Mathieu was eventually kicked off the Tigers’ football program following a series of failed drug tests.
Compounding matters, Mathieu, along with former quarterback Jordan Jefferson and two others, was arrested for marijuana possession. Police then found it in his apartment upon a search.
In order to get out from under the negativity his residence in Baton Rouge had caused, Mathieu left school, moving in with Patrick Peterson’s family in South Florida. Peterson was a teammate at LSU and was living in Arizona as a member of the Cardinals. There, the Honey Badger started putting his life back together — and training for the NFL Combine.
“This is my last shot,” he said. “You’ve got to learn when to do things and when not to do things, when to party and when not to party. Every day is football. That’s the biggest thing I got out of it. I’m just ready to live a football life … Basically, I just had to take myself out of that situation that I was involved in and get away from all those kinds of people and just really starting hanging myself around positive people, people who are actually doing what I want to do in my life,” Mathieu said. “And that’s being a professional football player. I think everything’s going very well right now. I feel real good about myself. I just try to keep a smile on.”
Mathieu is small, measuring in at a mere 5-foot-9 and 175 pounds. However, his vicious game play, hits, and desire for greatness earned him the ‘Honey Badger’ moniker that made him famous.
Resurrecting his playing career, proving to himself and to his legions of both supporters and doubters, is now more important than anything these days.
“I would have given everything” to be on the field, Mathieu said. “That was a freshman on that blitz and I would have been a junior so I would have known that play was coming. I would have been able to do something.
“It hurts, but it’s something that I’ve got to live with now.”