Tyrann Mathieu has taken exception to a report that says he has told NFL teams he failed more than 10 drug tests while at LSU.
The cornerback is on a tour making 10 pre-draft visits to clubs as he prepares for the NFL draft and on Friday Jarrett Bell of USA Today reported that an assistant for one NFL club said when asked how many drug tests he had failed before being kicked out of LSU, Mathieu said the number was in double-digits.
“I quit counting at 10,” Mathieu told one team, according to an assistant coach that spoke to Bell on condition of anonymity. “I really don't know.”
After the report, Mathieu contacted LSU and told the school the comment does not “accurately reflect” discussions he has had with NFL teams, according to the Associated Press.
“It is irresponsible and shows a lack of integrity for anyone to disclose medical information regardless of how it was gathered,” Mathieu said in a statement. “I would expect that conversations regarding my drug testing history during the course of my medical treatment would be private. LSU has a strong drug testing program and LSU went to great lengths to help me in my treatment and recovery. I understand that many people enjoy reading about the negative side of sports, but to publish those second-hand comments without being given a chance to address that comment prior to the publication of the article is irresponsible.”
The statement looks like Mathieu probably had some help crafting it. The bottom line here for Mathieu is how individual teams consider him when it comes to risk management. There is a gamble in drafting him. He was kicked out of school for repeated marijuana use and after that he was charged with possession of the drug in October. Mathieu has told NFL teams he has been clean since October.
So, whether Mathieu told an NFL team he failed 10 drug tests, 20 drug tests or three drug tests, it doesn’t matter a great deal in our mind. The risk element is there, period. We’ll find out for sure in two weeks how convinced at least one team is that Mathieu has put these issues behind him and how strong his draft stock is.
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune