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Matheiu enrolls at LSU, Miles’ focus elsewhere
BATON ROUGE, LA. (AP) - Tyrann Mathieu has opened a new chapter at LSU.
Whether the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist known as the Honey Badger ever plays football for the Tigers again remains to be seen.
As Mathieu was enrolling in school for the fall semester on Tuesday, LSU coach Les Miles was maintaining his stance that the time is not right to speculate on the former star cornerback’s future with the program.
All that is certain at this point is that Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team Aug. 10 for failed drug tests, won’t be playing this season, which continues Saturday night with the Washington Huskies’ visit to Tiger Stadium.
“I think he’s making some quality decisions for himself,” Miles said of Mathieu’s efforts to address personal matters and his return to school exclusively as a student. “My focus is about my team and preparing game week. … We certainly wish (Mathieu) the very best.”
When Mathieu was dismissed, Miles and LSU athletic officials said the move was required by school policies. They assumed Mathieu’s departure was permanent, for practical purposes, because he was immediately eligible to transfer to a football program in the FCS, the second tier of Division I, and also will have the option of entering the 2013 NFL draft.
However, Mathieu instead went to Houston to check himself into the Right Step recovery center run by former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who battled drug and alcohol problems during his career and now counsels others.
With Mathieu back on campus, Miles said he was not aware of any school policies that would prevent the popular ex-Tiger from rejoining the team in 2013. That means it would be up to Miles and top athletic administrators to decide if Mathieu can be trusted to avoid further trouble. However, Miles and athletic director Joe Alleva are declining to comment on the matter at this time.
LSU safety Eric Reid said he ran into his old teammate on a quad at the center of campus, walking to class.
“He was very positive, smiling. He knows this is something he has to do and it’s going to be better for him in the long run,” said Reid. “He knows he made a mistake, and he’s moving on from that. He’s just looking forward to the future and doing things right from now on.”
“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see,” Reid said. “I’d support any decision that he makes. He’s my friend, he’s my brother, he’s a Tiger, so we’re just happy he’s back here on campus and we get to see him.”
“He’s from Louisiana. His family’s here. We’re his family and we’re here for him,” Reid said. “He has a great support system here, so I don’t see why he’d leave.
“This is college. This is a fun time,” Reid continued. “You build relationships that you have the rest of your life.”
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
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