You probably know the story of Tyrann Mathieu by now.
The troubled former All-American was picked by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round last month’s NFL Draft after being kicked off of the LSU squad by head coach Les Miles. Mathieu had failed numerous drug tests while in college, and enough was enough.
The selection was hailed as a risky one by many NFL experts, but Mathieu, who had his first press conference in Tempe Thursday, says he’s just ready to get back on the gridiron doing what he loves the most.
“Just ready to get everything rolling and get back to playing football,” Mathieu said.
There are those that doubt Mathieu’s ability to stay clean considering his past. But the 5-foot-9 defensive back knows those people will disappear if he does what he’s supposed to do at the pro level.
“Just letting my actions speak for themselves, I think that’s how everything is going to come to a halt,” he said. “I’m looking forward to it. I definitely have a long journey in front of me, and there’s definitely going to be some challenges, but I think I’m prepared for it and I’m ready for it.”
In October of 2012, just a few months after his dismissal from the LSU program, Mathieu was arrested for marijuana possession, casting even more doubt on his potential NFL career. While he understands that doubt, Mathieu says he’s changed his ways.
“I think my actions in the last six months have proven that I’m on the right track, I’m on the right path,” he said. “I think I have my head on straight. I’m just going forward, I’m going to surround myself around positive people and have a great support staff, which I know the Cardinals are going to provide for me.
“I’m looking forward to it and like I said, it’s not going to be easy, there’s going to be some challenges, but it’s something I’m ready for.”
A big part of Mathieu’s support network will be Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson, who was a college teammate at LSU. Mathieu spent a lot of time in Peterson’s presence during his draft preparation and expects that tutelage to continue.
“He’s going to be extremely important, probably as important as my girlfriend,” Mathieu said. “He’s probably going to be everywhere with me, walking around with me everywhere. I’m just going to follow Patrick’s routine.”
When asked if Mathieu would live with Peterson, he laughed and replied, “maybe.”