For every NFL player who can’t overcome the demons of addiction, there are many who do. Most we never know about, because their confidentiality rights under the league’s treatment and testing programs was respected.
For Tyrann Mathieu, his issues with marijuana are well-documented, and his ability to stay clean through a rookie season that ended with the despair of a torn ACL is impressive. But he bottomed out after being kicked out of LSU due to marijuana issues. He now concedes that, while behind bars two years ago, he considered ending it all.
“I’m sitting in that jail cell thinking, ‘I don’t know if I want to go back out there and face the music,’” the Cardinals safety said Wednesday, via Craig Morgan of FOX Sports Arizona. “I didn’t know how I was going to commit suicide in the cell, but that was the direction my life was heading. . . .
“Believe it or not, my cellmates were encouraging me, telling me I was a good football player, telling me I don’t need to be thinking about this,” Mathieu said. “That’s probably why I really didn’t do it, but there was an actual moment where I was thinking about, and I’ll never forget that feeling.”
The topic arose because Mathieu tweeted recently that he has “tried committing suicide.” He has since removed the message.
He now hopes to find a way to help others who need help, the way he needed it.
“I want to start a foundation called Second Chance,” Mathieu said. “I was given a second chance, so I want to reach out to different groups of people. It would be nice to give that opportunity to others. . . . People go through a lot of things. They can be every-day personal things, not just suicide. I just want to reach out and use this platform for something positive and be an inspiration to people who want to see me as an inspiration.”
Mathieu could use some periodic inspiration of his own as he tries to stay away from marijuana.
“It’s a long process, and it’s going to continue to be a long process,” Mathieu said. “I just try to come to work every day and stay on top of my rehab — just continue to push myself. I don’t try to get too down about it; I don’t try to get too excited when my knee is feeling good. I just take it as it comes.”
We wish him the best as he continues to deal with these issues, and we hope that other players wrestling with the disease of addiction receive the treatment they need and, in time, a mechanism through the NFL that won’t ultimately prevent them from having the support, the structure, and the income that flow from being employed.