Cornerback enters drug rehab center
Former LSU defensive back Tyrann Mathieu has put his football career and education on hold while he undergoes counseling in a drug rehabilitation center in Houston, according to Mathieu’s adoptive father.
WVUE-TV in New Orleans first reported Mathieu’s presence in the center Thursday night, saying he has been there since Monday.
Mathieu, a Heisman Trophy finalist and winner of the Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in the country last season, was dismissed from the Tigers on Aug. 10 for violating team and university policy. Numerous media reports, citing unnamed sources, said the violation involved multiple failed drug tests.
A failed drug test also was reported to be the cause of Mathieu being withheld from a game against Auburn last season.
Tyrone Mathieu, Tyrann’s uncle who raised him, told WVUE that the player is staying at the Right Step recovery center, where he is being counseled by the center’s founder, former NBA star John Lucas, who battled substance abuse during his career and counsels others with dependency issues.
ESPN reported Friday that the elder Mathieu said “there is no timeline” on the younger Mathieu’s return to school or football.
“Tyrann is focused on addressing his issues with Mr. Lucas,” ESPN quoted the elder Mathieu as saying. “(Lucas’) story speaks for itself. He can help Tyrann, and he can help our family.”
The elder Mathieu said Tyrann and the family need “time to heal” and that football is not a priority.
“Tyrann is working on discipline, maturity and character,” the elder Mathieu said. “He’s making life adjustments.”
Tyrann’s entrance into the rehab center indicates a shift in his priorities since last week. Just hours after he was dismissed from LSU, Mathieu drove to Lake Charles to meet with McNeese State coach Matt Viator about possibly playing for the Cowboys this season.
Mathieu, who has two years of eligibility remaining, would be able to play this season at a Football Championship Subdivision school, such as McNeese. He would have to sit out a year before playing at a Football Bowl Subdivision School.
McNeese issued a statement a day later confirming the meeting and saying Mathieu returned to his hometown of New Orleans without telling the university of his plans. Viator said Wednesday he had not heard from Mathieu since their meeting.
Earlier this week, Mathieu reached out to LSU officials about enrolling in school, paying his own way and possibly playing for the Tigers in 2013. Coach Les Miles reiterated that Mathieu will not play for LSU in 2012 and wouldn’t speculate beyond that. LSU officials have not addressed whether Mathieu could ever play again for the Tigers.
About 20 schools have contacted LSU about releasing Mathieu to play for them.
But it appears all the suitors will have to wait while Mathieu, 20, goes through counseling.