Possibilities in life may take the shape of a rare lucky shot or a fortunate second chance.
The hope is that third time will be a charm for former LSU Tiger Tyrann Mathieu. Individuals are not a product of their past and people are responsible for their decisions in life, according to the way he was raised by his adoptive parents.
Mathieu has discovered that being responsible for yourself and making the best life decisions are not one in the same. He has regarded some of his choices as self-abusive after suffering through the consequences.
A drug policy violation led to a one-game suspension as a LSU sophomore in 2011 and “multiple team violations” resulted in dismissal from the team prior to his junior year. The defensive back claims that he is ready to move forward, that football is the love of his life and he has pledged a commitment to being a better man and football player (in that order).
Mathieu draws on perseverance in his media interviews, invoking the side of him that had an early rise to fame in his short college career. He was one of only 17 defensive players in the past 65 years to be recognized as a Heisman trophy finalist.
He earned MVP of the 2011 Southeastern Conference Championship Game. Mathieu was a recipient of the 2011 Chuck Bednarik Award, granting him the title of best defensive player in college football along the likes of Ndamukong Suh and his mentor Patrick Peterson.
The “Honey Badger” nickname may stay with Tyrann his entire professional career as experts refer to him as a dynamic and fearless playmaker who plays with unstoppable vigor. He doesn’t seem to mind the title bestowed by fans, but wants people to understand that he only lives up to that persona for a few hours a week.
Mathieu may have disrespected himself with past choices, but he is not disrespectful of others. He has learned that being honest, looking people in the eye, developing trust and being held accountable are important aspects of being on a team.
The 26-year-old has landed his opportunity to return to football stardom, this time in the National Football League. The Arizona Cardinals have made room in their nest for the 5’9 cornerback after choosing him in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
Two of Mathieu’s former LSU teammates are currently on the Cardinals roster and have expressed their support in more than one way.
Second round draft pick Kevin Minter discussed his excitement to play pro with his LSU teammate, stating he can’t help but be “fired up” by his “passion and charisma” on the field. Established Cardinal Patrick Peterson has played an active role, along with his family, in Mathieu’s journey to the NFL.
Where there is a struggle, there is strength. Those words are an echo of Tyrann’s “never give up, never give in” mentality. He says the end of his story will reflect a passionate leader on and off the field, although he is aware of the scrutiny from the NFL community.
True to the Honey Badger’s “does what he wants” fashion, Mathieu acknowledges that no one can force him to action on any given day, he has to make a conscious decision to do what will make him happy. He is ready and willing to prove everyone that the Cardinals made a quality choice by bringing him to Arizona.