Tyrann Mathieu: ''Everything coming together now''
by Deke Bellavia,posted Mar 27 2013 5:09PM
Former LSU All-American Tyrann Mathieu joined me and Bobby Hebert for a chat on SportsTalk following his participation in LSU Pro Day.
I asked Tyrann what it was like to go through a process of combines and such, everything where they look at more what WRONG you do than what you do right.
"For me, you just have to embrace the moment and embrace the opportunity to get in front of those guys and be honest with them, and hopefully that kind of develops our relationship moving forward into the Draft...but it's a long process, man, and it's extremely tough, man, and extremely slow at first right now...but I think right now, everything heading into April, everything is kind of cooling down, now it's just about getting back out there and hopefully making somebody's team."
Bobby asked Tyrann how important it was to have left Louisiana for Florida to train under Patrick Peterson Sr.
"You know, Louisiana's always home to me, it will always be home. But with my situation, I just had to get away, just to get a fresh start and a peaceful mind moving forward. I've been real blessed, and I'm extremely grateful for opportunities that are in front of me, from the Peterson family, my parents, my whole family...LSU, and even NFL people. I've just been embracing the opportunity, and it's been fun."
I got to know Tyrann's family when he played at St. Aug, and I know they are a great supporting family. I asked Mathieu, when he sits back and looks at things he's been through, what has he learned?
"It's just about being humble, and take everything one day at a time, and just being forward to embracing the process. That's been the biggest thing for me, just about me being honest, and me addressing my issues. But, also about me wanting to move forward in my professional career and just play football. I think everything is kind of coming together now, it kind of started off as a big old puzzle, didn't know what was going to happen, but now I think everything is coming back to light."
Bobby followed up by asking Tyrann if getting drafted by New Orleans could be tough, given the temptation of hanging with old friends who may lead him astray.
"That's a good point. Just moving forward is about who I surround myself with, positive people, people who actually play football in the NFL...Wherever I get drafted at, I've got to have a structure. You know, whether it's in New Orleans, New England, Pittsburg, anywhere, I've got to have structure. That's something I've been talking to teams about...so that if I do get drafted there, then everything is there in place for me to succeed. The counseling, the rehab, just all those things that are necessary to keep those things that have harmed me off the field...anywhere I go moving forward, I have to have a structure in place."
And, Tyran agreed with Bobby that just staying away from trouble is the key.
"Definitely, definitely. And I want to. I think back to my career at LSU, I didn't want to stay out of trouble. You know what I mean? I didn't want to do the right things, I wanted to get high. So now, it's a different approach, I'm looking at it a different way...it's not a mind game, it's really about what I want to do...and how I want my life to be going forward. So, it's been a roller coaster, a whole lot of ups and downs, but the biggest thing is, you gotta stay strong, and you've got to have faith and keep God first, and keep those good people around you."
I asked him what was the #1 question he got from GM's and scouts about his off-field issues:
"It's the marijuana. You know, they bring it up constantly...it's really about, they asked me why couldn't you stop, or why didn't you want to stop? You know, that's the questions they posed. Those were the toughest ones...because those were the ones you have to be the most honest about. For me...I didn't want to stop, just didn't want to reach out for help. I thought what I was doing was OK, but it's not going into this profession. Everything has kind of been an eye-opener this last year, and just reflecting on it, I'm able to move forward because I've made those mistakes, and have got through it."
Mathieu says he's focused on moving forward and playing in the National Football League, and is looking forward to playing ANY position a team wants him to play.
“Different teams have different things in mind...There's been a lot of teams that have said, 'we want you to come in and be our third cornerback, play a certain percentage of plays, and return kicks for us.' But it's other teams that actually want me to come in there, and actually fight for a starting cornerback position. So, I have that in mind. I want to go out there and be the best cornerback I can be, be the best teammate I can be, and be the best player I can be. And wherever the coach needs to put me after that, I'm fine with that...I just want to put a helmet on again! I just want to go out there and tackle somebody again.”
And, I asked him what he thought his greatest strength as a player is.
“It's my awareness, and just my instincts. I study the game a whole lot, and anybody who knows me knows I know a whole lot about football. I try to harp on that, I try to make sure that I'm ahead of everybody when it comes of knowledge of the game, just being instinctive.”
Tyrann Mathieu: ''Everything coming together now''
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I hope Tyrann all the best in the world, but his chances of staying clean are slim. Money and freedom do not bode well for a young man with the track record he has. Bobby mentioned that while he was on the LSU football team he held teammates accountable,he just never held himself accountable. He has a lot of potential and a lot baggage.
He's mighty small, but has the potential. Better than what the Saints presently have.