LSU: Heisman hopeful Mathieu, aka 'Honey Badger,' dismissed for breaking team rules
LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu speaks to the media before the BCS championship in January.
August 10th, 2012
03:10 PM ET

LSU: Heisman hopeful Mathieu, aka 'Honey Badger,' dismissed for breaking team rules

It's been said that Honey Badger don't care, but what may be more accurate is that Honey Badger don't play - at least not for the LSU Tigers.

The team, which played in last year's national college football championship game, announced this afternoon that their top player and arguably the nation's best cornerback, Tyrann Mathieu, has been dismissed for violating team policy.

“This is a very difficult day for our team,” head coach Les Miles said. “We lose a quality person, teammate and contributor to the program. However, with that being said, we have a standard that our players are held to and when that standard is not met, there are consequences."

Miles added, “It’s hard because we all love Tyrann. We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success. We are going to miss him.”

LSU did not say which team rule Mathieu broke. The 20-year-old All-American ran into trouble last year when he and two other players violated the team's drug policy. ESPN reported at the time that the trio tested positive for synthetic marijuana.

Mathieu and the others were suspended for their team's game against Auburn.

Despite missing the game, Mathieu was still a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, awarded to college football's best player, as a sophomore. In addition to winning the Chuck Bednarik Award, given to the top defensive player, he came in fifth in Heisman voting with 34 first-place votes and was the only defensive player among 10 finalists.

According to LSU, the Columbus, Ohio, native who attended high school in New Orleans, has registered 133 tackles - 16 for a loss - in 26 games for the Tigers. He also has four picks, 11 forced fumbles and eight fumble recoveries, as well as four touchdowns, two on punt returns and two on fumble returns.

The 5-foot-9, 175-pound Mathieu got his nickname for his fearlessness on the gridiron. Honey badgers are known to scrap with animals many times their size, including lions, and even tangle (successfully) with poisonous snakes.

Said the Dallas Cowboys' Morris Claiborne, a former teammate of Mathieu's: "Tyrann deserved the nickname ... because the honey badger takes what it wants, and Tyrann takes what he wants on the field," ESPN reported today in a profile.

The sports network had to add an editor's note, saying, "This story was published prior to Tyrann Mathieu's dismissal from LSU's football program on August 10."

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Filed under: College football • Football • Louisiana • Sports • U.S.
soundoff (669 Responses)
  1. Mary Cross

    I hope and pray that some responsible man will reach out to this young man with a positive message/mentoring to get him back on track. Life is short and evidently he has been given a special gift with his ability to play football. Mistake can be overcome. I will include him in my prayers.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Lou Cypher

    Why work as an indentured servant of the NCAA when he can work as a free athlete of his own choices?

    And why do people have such great admiration for athletes that wh()re themselves out to NFL violence?
    The harder the hits & the bigger the payday, the bigger the wh()re they are, yet the bigger the adoration from society.
    I've cheered at the bloody spectacle many times, but is that fact exculpatory?

    And still parents cannot figure out where children learn bad behavior from.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  3. garwin1

    He'll be on the porch drinkin' a 40 and hittin' the pipe in no time.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jake Wynne

    Drugs or no drugs, a kid this talented will land on his feet. He'll go play for some other college program and get drafted by the NFL next year. Is this a setback for him? Sure it is. It'll certainly affect how highly he's drafted. But as long as he keeps playing the way he has, it'll matter less than people think.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Jeff

    Bout time a school/team draw a line in the sand with these players that have been "Coddled" thier entire game playing days and make them realize that they are not bigger then the systems in which they play. Smoking pot is not a major crime but if it's a rule where you are, you obey the rule or face the consequences.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. John

    Yeah . . gee . . .. I wonder what rule it could have been?

    "Tyrann" needs to decide whether he wants to be a thug and drug addict or a football player. There are dozens before him who have demonstrated that the two don't mix. I'm surprised a record label hasn't come forward to offer him an alternate route to success as a rapper.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rem679

    He was their top punt returner but not their to player by any stretch of the imagination.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dan

      Ummm, I guess you missed the part where he was 5th in the award for best football player in the country

      August 10, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Roger smith

    i guess the days of sweeping infractions by the gods of the shools (football players and their coaches) is over.

    it use to be if you were a football player and you killed someone the school would bury the body for you.

    demz days are gone

    August 10, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  9. plat_angel

    rediculas....a person should be able to do what he pleases with his own body as long as it doesnt infringe on the rights of others. they possibly ruined the life of one of the best college football players for absolutly no reason. people who are against people who smoke pot are racists and bigots and should be ashamed of themselves.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BeezyB

    He won't be able to play at any other schools if this is his 3 drug violation and he can't go pro yet either.

    A year off should be good for him. He can smoke all the weed he wants and get back with his boys he should have left behind.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Grumpy

    If you don't go by the rules, you don't play the game. It's that simple. I hope he gets his stuff together before it's too late.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Desert1

    When I think of all the honest hard working student athletes that would have given anything to be in his place and have someone just throw a oportunity away,you cant take the thug out of some people.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Brian

    This is a tragedy. We have a severe shortage of football players in this country.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe Mann

      satire, right?

      August 10, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. yo yo yo

    he can join my team anytime.. he cute

    August 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  15. ken

    Clearly he's still using drugs, and probably getting worse. This statement says it all: "We will do what we can as coaches, teammates, and friends to get him on a path where he can have success.”. That's not the type of words you use for someone caught cheating on a test or other similar scholistic standards. Nope, that is more like what you use when a person has a problem with drugs or alchohol or hording, and you and others wanted to intervent to help get them on the right path. Other articles have added comments that he won't be attending LSU this fall, which makes sense as being kicked off the team means no scholarship means he has to go. So this was a serious situtation, and only Drugs make sense.

    August 10, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
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