That’s why he was too ashamed to call Peterson when a drug arrest ended his college career (he texted), and that’s why he sought out the Cardinals cornerback to get ready for his own pro career.
Josh Weinfuss of the Cardinals’ official website took a long look at the bond between the two players, and specifically the work Peterson’s done with Mathieu to prepare him for the Draft.
Shortly after the end of the Cardinals’ season Mathieu moved into Peterson’s home in Arizona to work out with a group of professional players. But Peterson had one message for the player who let so many people at LSU down.
“There’s nothing more I can teach him about being a football player,” Peterson said. “It’s about teaching him to be a young professional.
“Just making sure he understands he has one more strike. Just being more intelligent, being a smarter man, understand the situations, understand your surroundings around you, just being on top of your game that much more than you were prior to your situation, meaning getting kicked off the football team.”
For Mathieu, who hadn’t been around a team in months, the offseason preparation was valuable to get ready for the Combine, with Peterson hounding him on issues of technique, but also the scrutiny he’d get from teams and the media when he got to Indianapolis.
“I was sort of out of that mold, being around a team, practicing, going hard every day, sticking to a structured schedule,” Mathieu said. “I had to get back in shape mentally.”
But through it all, Peterson stayed on him, trying to cultivate the promise Mathieu once showed on the field at LSU.
“It wasn’t no vacation for him,” Peterson said. “We were really getting after it.”
Mathieu once dreamed of following in Peterson’s footsteps during his college career. Now if he has an NFL career, it will be because Peterson helped put him back on the right path.