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Tyrann Mathieu wanted to skip national championship game

Allstate BCS National Championship Game - LSU v Alabama Getty Images

Tyrann Mathieu may be the most-discussed prospect in next week’s NFL draft, which is unusual for a guy who won’t be a first-round pick. But Mathieu is a unique case of a player so talented he was a Heisman Trophy finalist as a cornerback at LSU, and yet so troubled that teams may wonder whether he cares enough to commit himself to football.

A lengthy ESPN the Magazine profile of Mathieu answers some questions and raises others, but the portion that will likely be of most interest to NFL teams is a brief description of Mathieu’s mindset heading into the last game of his college career: The BCS National Championship Game in January of 2012.

According to the profile, Mathieu was so disinterested leading up to that game that he spent 14 hours a day sleeping in the team hotel, and he told his girlfriend, “I don’t even want to play.”

Mathieu did play, in a game LSU lost to Alabama. He still hasn’t played in a football game since then, having been kicked off the team for multiple failed drug tests. Mathieu is quoted at length talking about the process of quitting marijuana, although NFL teams may not be thrilled with the fact that Mathieu says he still chews tobacco “to take the edge off.”

Some team is going to draft Mathieu next week, with most projections having him going in the third or fourth round. That team will need to be convinced that he’s totally committed to football, and not the kind of guy who wouldn’t even want to play in the biggest game of his life.

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72 Responses to “Tyrann Mathieu wanted to skip national championship game”
  1. calv23 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:43 PM

    In his defense, he may have gotten wind of Les Miles’ offensive game plan ahead of time. One of the worst coached big-games I’ve ever seen.

  2. jwcarlson says: Apr 19, 2013 2:43 PM

    This should be enough of a red flag to keep the intelligent teams from drafting him.

    We’ll see who ends up taking him and be “shocked” when he doesn’t show up to camp/meetings/OTAs/whatever.

  3. mf7krime says: Apr 19, 2013 2:45 PM

    Sounds to me like he’s battling depression. Hope he gets well.

  4. melkipershero says: Apr 19, 2013 2:45 PM

    I love this guy on the field. If I were a team I’d be VERY scared to draft him in any round though.

  5. theralph2012 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:47 PM

    Yeah I’m sure he’s changed.

  6. 4512dawg4512 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:48 PM

    This guy makes Jamarcus Russell look like a team leader! What are they doing down there at LSU?

  7. theguybelowmehasnoarguement says: Apr 19, 2013 2:48 PM

    I wonder who is going to be the first to pull the trigger on him? What round?

  8. We'reFineThere says: Apr 19, 2013 2:48 PM

    I was a huge fan of his until that game. He was terrible in it. I’m not sure it was quite as bad as Teo’s game vs Bama but it was similar.

  9. burds358 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:48 PM

    Dude probably had a lot of other stuff on his mind at the time (which isn’t surprising, given what transpired afterwards). I imagine most NFL GMs have asked that question of him (and more) by now, so whoever drafts him will have a good understanding of how to give him the best environment to succeed.

  10. taintedsaints2009 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:49 PM

    Judging from how he played in that game he may as well of stayed in bed.

  11. myeaglescantwin says: Apr 19, 2013 2:49 PM

    sleeping 14 hours sounds like depression.

    have you see his hair? the way he dresses?
    girlfriend?? really??

    hmmm. I bet this guy has some life questions he needs to answer before he can be confident enough to dedicate himself completely.

  12. nite2al says: Apr 19, 2013 2:49 PM

    ..and 10 hours smoking weed…

    Who would want to play football after that?

  13. justintuckrule says: Apr 19, 2013 2:50 PM

    Perfect fit for my GMEN. Tuck, Kiwi and C-Web will groom him nicely to play opposite the Prince forming the next great young CB tandem in the league. The 3rd rd is for taking chances on head cases like Mathieu. It worked when we took Manningham and Jayron Hosley. Aside from NE, if he gets drafted anywhere else, he’ll be out of league by 2014.

  14. germanstingray says: Apr 19, 2013 2:50 PM

    He got distracted. He was studying too much for the next drug test.

  15. mhalt99 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:51 PM

    at some point many of these players that have a solid draft grade will begin skipping bowl games* …….weeks after they played their last game……why get roll the dice….as ricky watters said, for who for what.

    * don’t see it happening for natl champ games as if you don’t make it in the league, a good showing or win in that game will increase the amount of cars you sell or insurance policies issued 5 fold

  16. metalhead65 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:51 PM

    his own coach said he would be nothing more than a great special teams player. why would anyone draft him or waste pick that high for him?

  17. greysolon says: Apr 19, 2013 2:53 PM

    Welcome to pot.

    Don’t forget to repeatedly say “pot doesn’t affect me adversely at all.”

  18. rushmatic says: Apr 19, 2013 2:53 PM

    jwcarlson says:
    This should be enough of a red flag to keep the intelligent teams from drafting him.

    We’ll see who ends up taking him and be “shocked” when he doesn’t show up to camp/meetings/OTAs/whatever.

    ________________

    Intelligent people/teams don’t believe everything they read from the media.

  19. timb12 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:54 PM

    He sounds like Ricky Williams part two.

  20. viper0290 says: Apr 19, 2013 2:54 PM

    I’m sure if the NFL weren’t paying him
    To play he wouldn’t want to play. I could see this guy getting a big paycheck and calling it quits.

  21. nflofficeadmin says: Apr 19, 2013 2:54 PM

    Jim Brown wasn’t interested in football either. Matter of fact, he still isn’t interested in football.

  22. rocketcrab says: Apr 19, 2013 2:55 PM

    Maybe the Vontaze Burfict of this year’s draft?

  23. kevingreene160sacknoHOFclub says: Apr 19, 2013 2:55 PM

    Mathieu is blessed with a level of ability some guys work their entire athletic prime’s to reach and never achieve, but too shortsighted to put away the bong. He will be overdrafted, overvalued, underperforming, unavailable, and not likely to reach a second contract.

  24. ilovefoolsball says: Apr 19, 2013 2:57 PM

    As long as they keep him in the biosphere located on team property he’ll be fine.

    No outside visitors or snacks.

  25. dolphindubs says: Apr 19, 2013 2:57 PM

    This guy is going to be a special player in this league. In today’s NFL, shutdown corners are a bit overrated. What does it matter if you can take one receiver out of the game when the QB still has 3/4 other options to choose from with 3 downs to do it. DB’s that can get turnovers should be every teams top priority now, instead of “lockdown” corners. And this is what Mathieu does best.

  26. pleazenufalready says: Apr 19, 2013 2:58 PM

    The one question that every GM who even thinks about drafting this guy is “can we count on him?”….who wants to invest dollars and time into the next Stanley Wilson or Barrett Robbins?

  27. ilivincin says: Apr 19, 2013 2:59 PM

    As a Bengals fan, I’d love to see him in orange and black, if he slips to a late round. Make him stay w Pacman. Seriously.

  28. spinmovr says: Apr 19, 2013 2:59 PM

    Don’t see a middle road with this guy. He’s either a 4x Pro Bowler as a returner/nickel back or we’re talking about him maybe hopefully getting a shot with a team at training camp this time next year.

  29. deathonwings410 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:02 PM

    UDFA?

  30. djjackson81 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:03 PM

    The more teams who pass the farther he may fall I’m sure AZ would use a 4-5 on him.

  31. explosionsauce says: Apr 19, 2013 3:05 PM

    I hope Niners stay away because of the accessibility of medicinal marijuana there. Not that it should be illegal but some people just can’t handle themselves.

  32. ajgreenshands says: Apr 19, 2013 3:06 PM

    Cincy takes this guy, hoping that Adam jones can be a positive influence on him and help him see the way not to do it.

  33. jwcarlson says: Apr 19, 2013 3:09 PM

    myeaglescantwin says:
    Apr 19, 2013 2:49 PM
    sleeping 14 hours sounds like depression.
    ———————————
    mf7krime says:
    Apr 19, 2013 2:45 PM
    Sounds to me like he’s battling depression. Hope he gets well.
    ———————————

    Queue the e-shrink parade. HE’S A STONER.

    The dude is all smoked out and sleepy. He doesn’t have his priorities straight and despite his best efforts some team is STILL going to give him a chance to be a multimillionaire.

  34. nysports831 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:10 PM

    justintuckrule says:
    Apr 19, 2013 2:50 PM
    Perfect fit for my GMEN…. Aside from NE, if he gets drafted anywhere else, he’ll be out of league by 2014.
    __________________________________

    Yes, clearly this person applies logic based on historical evidence and deals in reality. By all means the Giants have been a DB factory where corners with potential go to blossom and flourish in this league…comical.

  35. saintswillwin says: Apr 19, 2013 3:14 PM

    He pretty much didn’t play in the game!!!

  36. seaeagle707 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:16 PM

    This guy’s got D-I-V-A, written all over him. He may turn out to be a great player, but I suspect that whatever FO signs him, will have no end of off the field problems.

  37. hmpennypacker says: Apr 19, 2013 3:17 PM

    Patriots draft him in a late round. 5 maybe.

  38. raiderufan says: Apr 19, 2013 3:20 PM

    I’m sorry but you can’t blame the pot on this…that’s way to short sided.

    Like has been said already, this sounds like high level depression. Using the weed may have been a way to cope with the depression but it certainly didn’t make a happy go lucky 18 y/o into a 19 y/o with no desire to play the national title game.

    I don’t have depression and I’m a regular smoker of Marijauna….I get AMPED to play my buddies in NHL 13 let alone the national title. It’s just to easy to blame pot on this one. It’s deeper.

  39. silvernblak says: Apr 19, 2013 3:21 PM

    Its alot of work, time,blood, sweat and tears to play in the NFL. Who sleeps 14 hours a day? Im lucky to get 6. Sounds like its still easier for him to fire one up and do OTA’S from raiding the frig after. Can you smell that? Its the smell of a BUST!

  40. melkipershero says: Apr 19, 2013 3:22 PM

    greysolon says:
    Apr 19, 2013 2:53 PM
    Welcome to pot.

    Don’t forget to repeatedly say “pot doesn’t affect me adversely at all.”

    I can honestly say weed will bring you down from time to time and can perk you up from time to time. If I were blessed with the skills to not just making a living to play a game, but a great living, I’d stop in .00002 seconds.

  41. moeman79 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:23 PM

    sweet a black dude who chews tobacco, not many of them around. Not sure why a team would care if he spit tabbacy, way better than smoking anything only reason I stoped was I didn’t want mouth cancer

  42. thatstinks says: Apr 19, 2013 3:26 PM

    If I was stoned in a hotel room with my girlfriend in January I bet I wouldn’t want to play football either . Yes cheeky to a degree but the one thing marijuana does kill is motivation and that is really the danger with youth and pot IMO .

  43. briang123 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:44 PM

    The best thing that could happen to him is if he is humbled like Vontaze Burfict. If he is taken by a team early, he will have learned nothing and will continue to feel entitled.

  44. patriots420 says: Apr 19, 2013 3:47 PM

    Sounds to me like he is depressed, in all honestly it hurts to say this but it sounds like me a year or so ago down to a T, down to chewing tobacco, it hurts to admit but that is the first step, pot is a great escape as long as it dosent get in the way of making a living. I got help from my dr. And feel like myself again. But admitting you are depressed is the biggest step one which I hope he takes.

    As far as the people blaming the pot, no it’s not that. Pothead Rule #1, have a way to get more pot, I’d say that’s a prime motivation to play

  45. baddegg says: Apr 19, 2013 3:47 PM

    Maybe with a regular prescription of Adderall to “focus” he’ll be good to go. Just check out Richard Sherman.

    Funny that Mathieu is a loser for smoking pot, but guys like Sherman are “beasts” and given a free pass for taking PEDs.

    That said, all kidding aside, it actually sounds like Mathieu may be battling some sort of undiagnosed mental challenge — like depression or anxiety that he is trying to compensate for with pot. It could be that a team who could help him through this would be well rewarded.

    4-5th round he’s definitely worth a shot…

  46. b3nz0z says: Apr 19, 2013 3:59 PM

    totally worth a fourth round pick

  47. mullman76 says: Apr 19, 2013 4:01 PM

    You can smoke all the sticky green you want once you retire.

    Knucklehead.

  48. granadafan says: Apr 19, 2013 4:04 PM

    Coaches, especially those in the SEC, will do everything they can to lie, cheat, steal, coverup to put their players on the field. There’s no way a guy who fails 10 plus drug tests should have been on the field let alone still with the team. But hey, he was a star, so he can do anything he wants. Great job there, Les Miles.

  49. EJ says: Apr 19, 2013 4:06 PM

    Is he a distant cousin of Ricky Williams?

  50. EJ says: Apr 19, 2013 4:07 PM

    When a person chooses to smoke pot rather than play a game for millions of dollars, most might call that person a bit crazy.

  51. meandjuliojonesdownbytheschoolyard says: Apr 19, 2013 4:10 PM

    I hope the Bucs get him. We need defensive and special team playmakers.

  52. buffalicious says: Apr 19, 2013 4:11 PM

    Come to Tampa..Bring the honey badger to Tampa baby!

  53. chargerdillon says: Apr 19, 2013 4:11 PM

    I’m so very offended they NFL would allow any person who abuses drugs to play in the NFL.

    Clearly all NFL players are upstanding citizens who abide by the law and never break it.

    Clearly the NFL wouldn’t allow murderers to play in the NFL so why would they allow drug dealers?!

    Oh wait, you can kill a man with a car, and still play. You can stab a man in your driveway, and still play. You can drink and drive, you can abuse all sorts of drugs.

    On second thought, THIS GUY IS PERFECT FOR THE NFL

  54. jimbo75025 says: Apr 19, 2013 4:12 PM

    Face it, when you get into round 4 or 5 you are doing well in most drafts to get a guy who makes the practice squad. Round 6-7 guys mostly get released by the end of camp.

    Some team (hopefully with a strong locker room) will gamble on this guy in about round 3. If he turns out to have a decent career, then it’s a big win. If he’s a dud, then not even sure you could all him a bust by that point.

  55. drsimester says: Apr 19, 2013 4:12 PM

    The part about this that really makes me cringe is the fact that he’s already made tons of poor decisions and the kid doesn’t even have money yet. Can you imagine what’s going to happen when he gets his hands on a couple hundred thousand dollars? Being handed large sums of money at 19-20 years old has caused players without character issues to do really dumb stuff, the seems like a trainwreck in the making. The dude has all the talent in the world, and it’s probably not even going to matter. You can’t get by on talent alone in the nfl. I could never convince myself to draft him in any round. Can you say Maurice Clarrett?

  56. seals1 says: Apr 19, 2013 4:21 PM

    Round 2-3 just went to day 3. You need more than talent once you get the show.

  57. onbucky96 says: Apr 19, 2013 4:30 PM

    Wake ‘n Bake Honey Badger!

  58. albinorhino49 says: Apr 19, 2013 4:44 PM

    He will be a Niner. Harbaugh packs a lipper once in awhile too, that they have in common. Pick 93 is my guess.

  59. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Apr 19, 2013 4:46 PM

    A talented play making defender but wow, comes with more red flags than a game officiated by replacement refs.

  60. peytonsneck18 says: Apr 19, 2013 5:01 PM

    as long as the seahawks or broncos dont draft him, he should be alright, but i bet the patriots or 49ers draft him

  61. censoredagain says: Apr 19, 2013 5:38 PM

    Might as well tattoo a Raiders logo on the side of his head, because thats where all of this is leading.

    Its a shame that someone with so much talent can be so dismissive and indifferent.

  62. whiskeywaters says: Apr 19, 2013 5:39 PM

    I would not have a problem with the Vikings taking this guy if he’s available when their 4th round, 5th pick is on the clock

  63. seabreezes51 says: Apr 19, 2013 5:46 PM

    Just too many red flags on this kid.

  64. lucimorland says: Apr 19, 2013 5:46 PM

    Sounds like he needs some therapy and medication. It’s not really funny — he could end up dead over this. One of his friends and family needs to step in and get him to a doctor before he shoots himself.

  65. phinfan says: Apr 19, 2013 6:35 PM

    Its a proven fact excessive pot will cause permanent mood disorder. Meaning he turned on the depression sensors in his brain

  66. cannonballdookie says: Apr 19, 2013 7:08 PM

    I would honestly be shocked if a team other than the Pats, Steelers, or Bengals drafted him. Seems like they routinely take chances on guys like this. A lot of times they fail, but sometimes they do succeed. Janoris Jenkins was a character red flag last year and may have been the steal of the draft, so taking someone a round or two later doesn’t represent a lot of risk.

    Regardless, I’d want my team to stay away.

  67. soundsofsuccess7 says: Apr 19, 2013 7:46 PM

    Alot of players are over the season by that time rolls around, but they still at least want to play in their bowl…

  68. vegasvike says: Apr 19, 2013 7:56 PM

    @ phinfan – please provide a link to your proven fact statement, I’d like to read it

  69. realfootballfan says: Apr 19, 2013 9:12 PM

    Anyone who drafts him higher than the 6th or 7th round is insane.

    Marijuana makes most people lazy, and he’s an addict, which is sad because he’s a talented guy. However, when your addiction overshadows everything in your life, you’re just not a person to depend on.

  70. realfootballfan says: Apr 19, 2013 9:15 PM

    He sounds like another Charles Rogers waiting to happen. Supremely gifted but consumed with marijuana addiction, which is hard for people to understand since it’s not usually associated with the power of the bigger drug addictions.

  71. sjsuraider says: Apr 19, 2013 9:18 PM

    The funny thing is weed is healthier than chewing tobacco but only one of them is illegal

  72. fielddamage says: Apr 21, 2013 1:13 AM

    He also wants to skip his next drug test…

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