INDIANAPOLIS – Former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu thought he hit rock bottom when Les Miles kicked him off the team last August for failing multiple drug tests.
He was wrong. Eleven weeks later, Mathieu and three of his ex-teammates were arrested at his Baton Rouge apartment on marijuana possession charges.
Now, after undergoing drug treatment and seeking counseling, Mathieu is trying to restore his reputation and return to the game he loves.
I know what its like not to have football, I know what its like not to be the center of attention, I know what its like to be humiliated and Im not going down that road again, Mathieu said Sunday at the NFLs annual scouting combine in Indianapolis.
Its certainly not the path Mathieu expected to take into the NFL.
A year ago, the hotshot cornerback with the catchy nickname Honey Badger was considered a Heisman Trophy front-runner.
Instead, he wound up in a two-week drug treatment program run by former NBA player John Lucas and tried to rebuild his image even as it continued to take hits.
When police searched Mathieus apartment in October, they found a marijuana grinder, a digital scale and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana, seven of which were in another ex-LSUs teammates book bag.
Thats when I decided to go to rehab, Mathieu said.
Since then, Mathieu insists hes cleaned things up – pointing to the fact he sought out counseling, got a sponsor and has refocused his efforts on making it in the NFL.
But Mathieu is far from alone in trying to find redemption in this draft.
The list of defensive backs with character questions includes:
Bacarri Rambo, who failed two failed drug tests at Georgia.
Sanders Commings, Rambos former college teammate, who was suspended last season after being charged with domestic violence.
Greg Reid, who was booted off Florida States team after last summers arrest on marijuana possession charges.
And Hawaiis Mike Edwards, who was kicked off Tennessees team after a 2009 arrest on an attempted armed robbery charge.