NEW ORLEANS -- Former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu has entered a drug rehabilitation program in Houston since being dismissed from the Tigers, according to a television report.
Mathieu’s adoptive father, Tryone Mathieu, reportedly said that the 20-year-old star cornerback and punt returner known as the "Honey Badger" has been at the Right Step recovery center and is being counseled by former NBA player John Lucas.
Tyrone Mathieu says his son is committed to restoring his health and won’t play football until he is confident that his rehab is complete. That may rule out the possibility of Mathieu transferring to a school at the FCS level and playing this season, after which he would be eligible for the NFL draft.
No one from Mathieu’s family appeared on camera in the New Orleans television report. Lucas has not returned a phone message left by The Associated Press.
LSU has said that about 20 college football programs have asked for permission to speak with Mathieu about transferring. Mathieu has visited McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., where classes began Wednesday.
Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., also has been granted permission to speak with Mathieu but has not met with him yet. Classes at Nicholls begin Aug. 22.
It remains unclear what Mathieu’s future may hold if he sits out this season entirely. LSU coach Les Miles has declined to close the door entirely on the possibility, however remote, that Mathieu could play for LSU again in 2013. Miles said last Friday, when he announced Mathieu’s dismissal, it would make more sense for Mathieu to transfer. Since then, he has said he can only guarantee Mathieu won’t be playing for LSU in 2012 and declined to speculate beyond that.
Miles and LSU officials have also said that they’ve offered Mathieu whatever help he needs to transfer.
The only public statements Mathieu has made since his dismissal consist of a few posts on the social network website Twitter, where he has also changed his avatar from a photo of himself in an LSU uniform to a motto displayed in white letters on a black background, reading: "Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that."
One of his recent posted messages says: "Patience.... Sometimes you have to stop doing what is easy and begin to do the things that are hard."
Mathieu emerged as one of college football’s biggest stars in 2011, his sophomore season, and was a Heisman Trophy finalist.
He also won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season. He scored four touchdowns—two on punt returns and two on fumble returns—intercepted two passes, caused six fumbles and recovered four.
He was expected to play a leading role in LSU’s effort to return to a second consecutive national title game.
Last season, LSU’s only defeat was a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the BCS championship game.