The long, strange journey of former LSU star and Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu to the NFL has taken another turn.
A spectacular kick and punt returner and tenacious ball-hawk as a defensive back, Mathieu is looking to be drafted after getting kicked off the Tigers football team. However, he recently admitted to league executives that he was not dismissed until after he failed more than 10 drug tests.
One would have figured the Honey Badger would have learned his lesson after the first half-dozen, and obviously this off-the-field issue is going to keep teams from drafting him in the first couple of rounds. After undergoing extensive drug rehab, Mathieu has reportedly been doing an admirable job in pre-draft workouts and interviews to prove that he has finally grown up.
That being said, the last thing he needs right now is any negative press — especially as it pertains to his love for the game of football.
A recent ESPN the Magazine profile of Mathieu states that the star corner did not even want to play in what wound up being the last game of his collegiate career.
In the team hotel, just before the 2012 BCS National Championship game, Mathieu told his girlfriend, Sydni Russell, “I don’t even want to play.”
Mathieu was depressed. He was sleeping 14 hours a day, according to the ESPN article, feeling too much pressure from all sides and instead walling himself off with a thick cloud of smoke.
Things won’t be getting any easier from here out, unfortunately. The fact that teams now know that his depression affected his passion, the one thing a guy who stands at 5-foot-9 and barely weighs 175 absolutely needs to succeed at the next level, could be used against him on draft day.
Even worse, while everyone here at Gamedayr is rooting for Mathieu to overcome his demons, it could wind up costing him his career.