The 'Honey Badger' deals with drug issues, and looks ahead to the NFL

AP/ File
AP/ File

New Orleans, La - Former LSU star cornerback Tyrann Mathieu is making the NFL rounds these days. Several teams, including Arizona and New England have interviewed him already. Three more coming up this week.

Mathieu says he expects to be taken in the first or second round of the upcoming draft. But, even as he plans his football future, he must deal with the issues which got him removed from the LSU program his junior season. The issue involves several failed drug tests while at LSU.

A USA Today article last week quoted an *unnamed* NFL assistant coach as saying Mathieu told him he had 'stopped counting' how many drug tests he'd failed.

But, Mathieu, interviewed Friday by ESPN Radio in Baton Rouge, said the alleged *fact* isn't true and, that he feels *burned* by the quoted source. Said Mathieu, "I don't remember me saying a specific number. I said I've failed seven drug tests. Those type of things you just don't say. Those things are confidential, man. I've been to three rehabs, so anything I speak on about my rehabilitation is, for the most part, confidential. You know what I mean? It kinda hurt me and it kinda burned me, but at the end of the day, I had a franchise to meet with. I had an organization to meet with. It went well. I had a positive mindset. And, that's what it's really about."

Mathieu went on to say he's gotten positive responses around the league and, that he's gotten nothing but support from LSU along the way.

"Hey man, LSU did everything they possibly could for me. They still do. I still talk to counselors over there. I still talk to trainers. Me and coach (Les) Miles are still tight. So, those people are still trying to help me. I would never try to throw LSU under the bus or even make it seem like they didn't try to help me. Because it's not true. Like I said six months ago, honesty... that's what I'm about right now. But to be honest with people, and then for those people to try to use it against you. It's disrespectful and it hurt me. But, at the end of the day, it's life. You've gotta move on, man, and stay positive."

The questions are out there.   It's part of the deal.  Mathieu knows that.  And, is dealing with it in a positive manner. "The same, the same, the same questions... over and over again. But, you just have to be humble,  keep a level head,  and just understand that something positive can come out of this. Even though it may seem negative, something positive can truly come out of it."

Mathieu is saying all the right things these days. More importantly, he appears to be *doing* all the right things. He needs to with an NFL franchise ready to take him on. What's *not* in question are his ball skills. The ones which made him a defensive Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore.

He is a young many who truly is *ready for some football*. "It's the love of my life, man. Just to get back out there and be a part of a team again. And, just knowing that I can help that team win the game coming up. That's extremely motivating for me. I can't wait for that day when the phone rings, and someone has drafted me. Two, three days later, I'm able to go out there and make all those things that happened in the past...really put that behind me. And just focus on football going forward."