BY LES EAST
August 21, 2012
The LSU football team apparently learned from the mistakes several players made at this time last season.
It also appears their ex-teammate might be on his way to learning from his mistakes as well.
The Tigers finished fall camp with a scrimmage Thursday night, an event that in recent years has been followed by a traditional breaking of curfew and celebrating at bars near campus. But after last year’s celebration got out of hand, leading to two players being arrested, coach Les Miles sent a message that the traditional breaking of curfew was not going to be tolerated.
There have been no reports of any players breaking curfew or otherwise getting into trouble.
Meanwhile All-America cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team Aug. 10 for violating team and university policy, has entered a substance abuse treatment facility in Houston.
It has been widely reported that Mathieu’s dismissal was the result of him failing multiple drug tests. His absence from a game against Auburn last season was also attributed to a failed drug test.
The revelation that Mathieu is staying in a drug treatment facility seems to confirm those reports.
Mathieu has two years of football eligibility remaining. He can play college football as soon as this season if he enrolls in a Football Championship Subdivision program.
He has pondered the possibility of enrolling at LSU, which begins classes Monday, to maintain his academic standing while he tries to return to the football team for the 2013 season.
But Mathieu has chosen to put football and academics on hold while he addresses his most immediate issue — the behavior that caused him to be kicked off the football team.
And that’s the best news to come out during this week-long saga.
It would have been easy for Mathieu to run to the nearest football program and get back to being “The Honey Badger” right away. He obviously was considering doing just that when he sat down with McNeese State coach Matt Viator just hours after being dismissed from LSU.
He could have returned to the comfort zone that LSU apparently provides by enrolling in school and paying his own way while he worked his way toward resuming his football career. He considered doing that earlier this week.
But choosing either of those paths would have foolishly ignored the cause of Mathieu’s predicament. Instead he chose to meet his most pressing problem head on.
Tyrann Mathieu belongs on a football field, and he’ll do himself a great service if he gets his degree, whether from LSU or some other university.
But first things must come first.
Mathieu seems to have recognized where he fundamentally went wrong and therefore where his attempt at redemption must begin.
It’s a good start.