(USA Today Sports Images)A Tyrann Mathieu redemption would be a great story. A former LSU teammate, who has already made it big in the NFL and can't have much to gain by doubling back for his friend, is helping him get there.
Mathieu is a very talented cornerback, one of the most popular players over the last few years in college football, whose career at LSU ended abruptly and by his own doing. Drug use led to him getting suspended from the LSU team and then arrested last year. Mathieu still got invited to the NFL combine, which is because of his ability on the field.
Patrick Peterson, now a star with the Arizona Cardinals and a former first-round pick out of LSU, has been working out with Mathieu, getting him ready for the combine, the New Orleans Times-Picayune said. Peterson's father Patrick Sr. runs a combine workout camp in Boca Raton, Fla. If Mathieu fails to impress at the combine and in the weeks leading up to the draft, there might not be another chance waiting for him.
According to the report, Mathieu sounds ready for his audition.
Mathieu has been working on technique and also ran a 4.47 40-yard dash time, which Peterson's father said they're very happy with. During a teleconference this week, NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he believes after talking to teams that Mathieu will go in about the fourth round, and a big reason is because he doesn't think Mathieu will run better than a "4.5 or 4.55" in the 40.
Everything with the troubled Mathieu seems to be headed in a positive direction.
"He's going to be good. He's going in strong," Peterson Sr. told the Times-Picayune, discussing this week's combine. "He's looking like Tyrann. He's staying away from the off-field stuff and he's focused.
"He looks like he means business, very locked in. He knows he can't get another strike. He's conformed to our rules, working out and trying to get better."
Mathieu's former teammate Peterson has been pushing him hard during workouts, according to the report. During one-on-one drills, the story said Peterson jumps to the front of the line to challenge Mathieu.
"Patrick goes at him hard; he'll push him on the ground or whatever he's got to do to get Tyrann prepared," the elder Peterson said with a chuckle.
The story said Mathieu went to the Senior Bowl to informally meet with NFL scouts and team officials, a smart, mature move that might help him during what will undoubtedly be probing interviews with teams this week.
Mathieu is still young and has a good chance to have a successful NFL career and life. He seems to understand the importance of making his pre-draft impression and is doing all the right things, with some much-needed help from a high profile former teammate.