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LSU head coach Les Miles speaks to cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (7) late in the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Atlanta. LSU won 42-10. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
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LSU’s Miles calls dismissing Tyrann Mathieu ‘one of the worst things’ he’s done

LSU head coach Les Miles speaks to cornerback Tyrann Mathieu (7) late in the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Atlanta. LSU won 42-10. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
LISTEN: Tyrann Mathieu, Cardinals' Safety

Back in 2012, LSU head coach Les Miles never wanted to boot safety Tyrann Mathieu off his football team, but Mathieu’s drug problem gave the coach no choice.

On Wednesday, a day after Miles’ former defensive back signed a five-year contract that could exceed $60 million with bonuses, the coach remembered the pain of pushing the Honey Badger out the door.

“That’s one of the worst things I’ve ever done, OK, just to be very honest with you,” Miles told an assembly of reporters in Baton Rouge, La.

On Arizona Sports 98.7 FM’s Burns and Gambo show Wednesday, Mathieu said that, in hindsight, he is thankful for Miles’ decision.

“And even if he didn’t kick me off the team and I did (end) up being top-20 pick, would I be in the NFL today? I can’t answer that question,” Mathieu said. “I’m glad that he made that decision. It really opened my mind, it really changed the way I thought about things.”

“Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom to find out who you really are.”

Miles has always remained a fan of Mathieu despite the player’s issues at LSU.

The LSU coach vouched for Mathieu following the Cardinals selecting him in the third round of the 2013 draft, telling Arizona Sports 98.7 FM he was rooting for Mathieu. Miles added that the then-rookie was never disruptive during his time in Baton Rouge and even that he’d bet on Mathieu to succeed.

And on Wednesday, the LSU head coach must have felt happy he turned out to be right.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Miles said of Mathieu’s new contract. “God bless him. I’m so happy for him, I can’t hardly tell you. He was and is a wonderful man. He was committed to team, he loved his teammates.

“In my way of thinking, he’s eclipsed, you know, whatever history somebody would hold against him. Who he is, is really who he’s been,” Miles added. “He’s so passionate about playing the game, playing football, it’s really allowed the best of Tyrann Mathieu come forward.”

 

Here is the video of Miles’ press conference. His remarks on Mathieu begin at the 17:08 mark.

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