BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — LSU coach Les Miles on Tuesday declined to close the door completely on the possibility, however remote, of Tyrann Mathieu playing football for the Tigers in 2013.
"Tyrann can be a student at LSU," Miles said after practice, adding that he is "not in any way speculating" about whether Mathieu could conceivably play for the Tigers again. "He will not be on this football team this year — I guarantee that's a fact. So I have no idea beyond that."
Miles indicated he was ready to put his emphasis back on preparing the Tigers for the upcoming season. He stressed that it was time to be concerned about getting the Tigers ready for the season-opener against North Texas on Sept. 1.
However, questions kept coming about the dismissal of Mathieu, an All-America cornerback and 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist.
"I certainly am rooting for Tyrann and whatever his future is. But I'm not focused on that," Miles said. "I've got games to play and I've got 104 guys I have to be ready for. I know that this is a very key time in his life and I hope the decisions that he makes are in his best interest for the long-term. So we'll help in any way we can."
Mathieu was dismissed from the LSU team last Friday for what reportedly was the latest of several failed drug tests.
At that time, LSU Athletics Director Joe Alleva said that Mathieu lost his scholarship and was not expected to remain enrolled in school. Miles also said last Friday that he could not foresee Mathieu choosing to pay to remain at LSU this academic year and not play football when scholarships were awaiting him at other schools.
If Mathieu joined a program at the FCS level, the second tier of Division I, he could play this season before becoming eligible for the 2013 NFL draft.
Mathieu has already visited McNeese State, an FCS school in Lake Charles, La., and is expected to make a decision by Wednesday.
Mathieu also has the option of sitting out this season and transferring to another FBS school. But under NCAA rules, LSU will retain the right to refuse to grant Mathieu's release if the coaching staff or administration does not approve of his choice.
"When schools call about Tyrann, I recommend him," Miles said. "He's a wonderful young man. I think he's a team player. I think he has improved in his maturity and that's kind of how I would speak about him — that he deserves every opportunity. ... His decision as to where he would transfer is not necessarily going through me. We've done what needs to be done up to this point."