TUSCALOOSA, AL - NOVEMBER 05: Tyrann Mathieu #7 of the LSU Tigers looks on before their game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 5, 2011 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Tyrann Mathieu's decision on what he will be doing in 2012 and indeed his future in football has been made, and it is not one many would have expected. Mathieu has entered drug rehab in Houston, as reported by WVUE, the New Orleans Fox Affiliate.
The Honey Badger's father, Tyrone Mathieu, tells FOX 8 Sports that he and Tyrann agree -- until he conquers his demons, he won't be successful at his future endeavors, wherever they unfold. The senior Mathieu says both Tyrann and his family are committed to restoring Tyrann's health, no matter what it takes, believing football will take care of itself down the road.
Tyrann Mathieu has been at the Right Step recovery center in Houston since Monday.
Former NBA star John Lucas is now mentoring Tyrann daily. Lucas was a successful NBA standout for 14 years before a cocaine and alcohol addiction threatened to destroy him. Lucas successfully completed rehab and went on to have a signature second career as an NBA coach.
Tyrone Mathieu characterizes Tyrann's decision as a "mature" one. He says he's proud of his son for facing the consequences of his actions and pro-actively addressing the problem.
The Mathieu family says they appreciate all of the prayers and support from everyone, but they're also asking people to respect their privacy during this time, as the healing process continues.
This is a huge step for Mathieu to take and to also admit publicly. For one, it confirms the long held conventional wisdom that Mathieu has a drug problem. It also means that Mathieu himself recognizes that just moving on to a D1-AA school to immediately get back to playing football will not solve his problems. Voluntarily stepping away from football is one of the toughest decisions a player can make, but it is the right choice in Mathieu's case.
It should also be noted that LSU's insistence over the last week of not commenting on Mathieu's future with the football team beyond this season and constant rebuttal of reports that he would never play for LSU again leaves open the possibility that he might one day return to LSU, though that still remains unlikely. Rehab is not a 2 semester course you just take, and drug addiction is something Mathieu will have to confront for possibly the rest of his life. I think we'd all like to see a cleaned up Mathieu rejoin the team next year in a great redemption story, but he has decided getting over his personal demons is a bigger priority. We should all wish him nothing but the best and good luck wherever his career takes him.
The final thing to add are words from Mathieu himself, posted on his twitter account earlier this afternoon, breaking a silence that has lasted since last friday when the story broke (the tweet was later deleted, so I have quoted it here)
Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.