BATON ROUGE - As the sports world has weighed in all week on exactly where and when former LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu should next play football, Mathieu and his family audibled to a more sensible decision.
Mathieu, a New Orleans native, is in drug rehabilitation in Houston at former NBA star John Lucas' Treatment and Recovery center. Football apparently will come second for now.
Mathieu's uncle - Tyrone Mathieu - told Fox 8 News in New Orleans on Thursday that his nephew has been at Lucas' center since Monday. Tyrone Mathieu has been serving as a father to the Honey Badger as Mathieu's actual father has been in prison.
LSU athletic director Joe Alleva last Friday alluded to the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist receiving counseling when Alleva and LSU coach Les Miles announced that Mathieu had been permanently dismissed from the team for rules violations and behavioral issues. Lucas, who battled drug addiction during his career, has been helping wayward athletes and otehrs with similar problems.
Because of student privacy laws, LSU officials cannot say exactly why Mathieu was dismissed, but people with knowledge have said it is because he tested positive multiple times on drug tests over the last year that revealed marijuana.
Last weekend, Mathieu visited lower division McNeese State in Lake Charles, where he could be eligible to play immediately, but he has told those close to him he did not like the visit and was considering perhaps going to LSU again with the slim hopes of getting back on the team in 2013. Mathieu cannot transfer to a upper division school and be eligible until the 2013 season. He may also be interested in playing at lower division Nicholls State in Thibodaux, which is only about an hour from New Orleans and where three former teammates of his at St. Augustine High play.
Miles spoke to Mathieu on the phone Tuesday night.
"I just wanted him to know that we'll support him in whatever he wants to do and help him where we can," he said.
"At this point in time, he needs to do the things that make him happy and that make sense for his future. If he does that, we'll all be happy."
Miles said he told Mathieu just to make a great decision and do the right things.
Regardless of where Mathieu next plays college football or whether he does or not, he could enter the 2013 NFL Draft. He is projected to be selected in the first three rounds by draft experts.
"My advice to him is to take care of himself, learn from this and prove to all involved that he understands his mistakes and that he plans to learn and grow from this," said Baton Rouge-based NFL personnel scout Chris Landry, who has never seen Mathieu as a first rounder like some have. "I would suggest finding a school that he is comfortable attending and playing this year. Of course, if he feels that he needs time to work on his problems away from football, that's certainly up to him and his family."