Tyrann Mathieu has had a whirlwind 365 days. This time last year Mathieu was a Heisman finalist, played for a National Championship and was the premiere player in all the land.
Since then Mathieu has been kicked out of LSU, spent time in rehab, been a Sports Illustrated cover boy for all the negativity in his life, and finally arrested in a drug sting with 4 other former Tiger teammates.
Mathieu eventually left Louisiana and move to Florida to live with Patrick Peterson’s family. Mathieu also declared for the NFL Draft, and in the process of rehabilitating his image, sat down with ESPN to divulge his inner most demons.
Among other things, Mathieu says “the pressure he was under led to his marijuana use, and he abused himself.” Mathieu talked about the moment he decided to change his life.
“Sitting in that jail cell, it clicked,” Mathieu told Joe Schad. “Looking at those people, just staring at me. ‘You don’t belong in here.’ They wanted to come through the jail cell and get me. I’m scared now. Because it’s reality now. I don’t ever want to feel like this again. I’m not going to feel like this again.”
Mathieu talked about why he used marijuana so frequently.
“I’d tell the world I abused myself though marijuana,” Mathieu said. “I abused myself through marijuana. Was I addicted to it? Maybe. Did I form a habit of it? Yes. When people didn’t think I had a good game or I didn’t have the greatest practice ever, I didn’t go into the office and try to figure out what was going on. I just automatically abused myself.”
Tyrann says he no longer smokes, and was honest about what it took to stop.
“It’s a mind thing. It’s a mind thing. The rehab I’ve been to, the counseling I’ve been to, my mama and daddy jumping down my throat, Coach Miles popping by my apartment, none of that could stop me if I didn’t want to stop. If I didn’t want happiness for myself, nobody else can want it for me.”
I was a fan of his game when he was on top, so I can only hope and pray he gets it together, can redeem himself, and offer life lesson to many that will follow his former path.