Spruce Derden-US PRESSWIRE
The former standout LSU defensive back is hoping NFL scouts see a changed man at the Senior Bowl this week.
MOBILE, Ala. -- On the first day of Senior Bowl week, where fans and scouts are usually worried about the performance of players on and off the field, it was former LSU junior Tyrann Mathieu who got much of the attention at the South team practice.
The former Tiger and Heisman finalist was not officially participating in any Senior Bowl events Monday, but was in Mobile as a precursor to the NFL combine, which he hopes to get an invite to, as well as cheering on his former LSU teammate Lavar Edwards.
"Tyrann has been training in Florida and with Patrick Peterson Jr. for two weeks in Arizona and he is back here now to meet with the coaches before the combine," said Mathieu's agent, Pat Lawlor of Galaxy Sports Advisor. "This is an informal area and the coaches are much more relaxed and he can see and talk to them."
Galaxy Sports Advisors also is the agent for Peterson, as well as other former LSU players like Jordan Jefferson.
Tyrann's football career at LSU and his off-field issues that caused him to be dismissed from the team have been long chronicled, but Tyrann and his advisers were ready for all questions during interviews on Monday.
"Working off the field, we are dealing with his lost season at LSU and we are dealing with that straight on. The first step with accepting the things he has done wrong," Lawlor said. "Coaches are going to ask you questions, which are very personal in nature, and they want to see if you break."
The thing Mathieu expressed numerous times when speaking to reporters was that he had changed and he was ready to show that.
"I think people will be skeptical of me and if I've changed. I said in an interview last week that I'm not looking for people to trust me. Trust takes time, especially when you've done a lot of things for people not to trust you. It may take two years, it may take five years, or it may take until I'm 30 years old for people to trust Tyrann again," Mathieu said. "The truth is that I'm doing the right things and I'm really looking forward to being back on the football field."
On the field, Mathieu and his agent were very pleased with the progress of his training. Mathieu will be working with Patrick Peterson Sr. in Boca Raton, Fla., until the combine, and has enjoyed the relationship he has with both father and son.
"Patrick's family and my family are really close and Patrick has been there since I was a freshman at LSU and he is still there for me," Mathieu said.
"I want to take the road Patrick took. He has made the pro bowl the past two years and he has been a great influence on my life. Always has been and always will be," Mathieu said. "And the training with him is going really well. It's very intense and I'm working on that top-end speed so I can run those 4.39s and 4.4s. It's been fun but it's a lot of hard work."
But after being away from football for so long, Mathieu is more worried about himself as a person and not his athletic ability.
"I'm not too worried about focusing on the skill set; I am more worried about working on the person. The last few months I've spent just really getting a grip on myself mentally and emotionally. I'm really looking forward to being a football player again and just being around football guys. Being away from the guy you start appreciating the little things. You start appreciating practice and studying film and being around football players," Mathieu said.
As speculation circles about where players will be drafted, Mathieu remains one of the more interesting and perplexing players to project. The questions comes down to simply is he or isn't he worth the risk, a question his agent quickly had an answer for.
"Tyrann is a very interesting guy in the draft. Everyone is questioning where he will go because of the special athlete he is. Me personally, I think he is absolutely first-round quality because it's a very weak draft this year," Lawlor said. "Nothing against all the guys in the draft, because they are all quality good football players, but with the charisma and the type of player he is, there aren't many out there like Tryann."
"There will be a lot of speculation about what he will run but he is really a special football player and he will do some special things at the combine. The team that takes him, 10 years from now will be happy as hell they did because he will do some special things out on that field just like he did in college," Lawlor added.
And as confident as Mathieu's agent is, the three words the LSU star used to describe himself were simply, "I am humble."