INDIANAPOLIS -- Nearly four months since he last took an illegal substance, former Louisiana State cornerback Tyrann Mathieu addressed the media inside Lucas Oil Stadium at the 2013 NFL Scouting Combine Sunday about the day-to-day battle he faces while pursuing his dream of playing professional football.
After getting expelled from LSU for failed drug tests right before the start of the 2012 season, Mathieu was arrested on Oct. 26, for marijuana possession, the latest in a series of moments that he said cost him “millions” of dollars in the NFL Draft.
“I thought my bottom was when I got kicked out of school, but when I got arrested in October, that was a different bottom,” Mathieu said. “I decided to go to rehab, but this time, the rehab was for Tyrann. I wasn’t just going because my school told me to go. I actually wanted to get my problem corrected.
“Every day is a process. I’m not saying I’m totally there, but I am taking strides every day to be the best person Tyrann can be. It’s tough because it’s everywhere. At the end of the day, I think I have something to look back on. I think I have some experience that I have gathered over this past year that’s going to help me. I definitely look back on my experience and there’s certain situations I look back on to help me get further along.”
Mathieu, a 5-foot-9, 186-pound cornerback from New Orleans, said going through the Scouting Combine was an opportunity for him to start and build up a level of trust with NFL organizations and front-office personnel.
“First of all, I want them to be able to trust me,” Mathieu said. “I hold myself accountable for everything I have done this past year. It’s been tough, but at the end of the day, I want to know that I’m a football player. I’m going to be a great teammate, and I want to be the same on the field that I know I can be off the field.
“I’m not totally asking them to trust me right now, but what I am asking is for them to give me the opportunity to let me play the game again. I’ve had a lot of time to reflect on it, especially without football. It’s really given me a different outlook at life and it’s just about being the right kind of person.”
Mathieu admitted that he sought guidance from some former LSU cornerbacks -- including Patrick Peterson, Morris Claiborne, and Corey Webster -- as well as Darrelle Revis, about going through the pre-draft process and how to adjust to the NFL level, where players can find themselves distracted by money, time and accessibility.
“All the things I put before football are really not fun anymore without football,” Mathieu said. “Once I get football back in my life, I want to approach football a little bit differently, and hopefully, have a better outcome. My best friend right now is honesty. I want to be as open as possible because I’m trying to rebuild my trust. I want those guys to be able to trust me. I hold myself accountable.
“I know what it’s like not to have football. I know what it’s like not to be in the front of the room, not to be the center of attention, and I know what it’s like to be humiliated. To go back down that road, not a chance in this world, not a chance in my lifetime.”