- Gary Laney, Reporter, GeauxTigerNation
- 0 Shares
The good old days, at least for one day, were back.
Mathieu, the cornerback who teamed with Reid and Simon to give LSU perhaps college football's best secondary in 2011, went through position-specific drills at LSU's pro day, skipping physical testing and only taking part in drills that grouped him with Reid, Simon and, in a surprise request from scouts, Russell Shepard.
"You just want to get back with your old teammates," Mathieu said. "I wasn't able to play with those guys this year, so to just get back with those guys one last time, that was probably the biggest thing."
It's also the biggest reason Mathieu is such an intriguing prospect. Booted off LSU's team in August and out of college football for the 2012 season, Mathieu presents NFL teams with what one scout in attendance called a "balancing act."
On one hand, there are the physical skills, evident during drills Wednesday. On the other hand, there are the off-the-field issues that make him a risk for any team willing to take him. While former teammates boosted their stock with great test results -- Simon's 4.50-second 40-yard dash and Michael Ford's 4.4 40 and 39.5-inch vertical leap stand out -- physical ability isn't Mathieu's big test.
Mathieu didn't even feel the need to go through physical testing after a strong performance at the NFL scouting combine.
The bigger goal for him is convincing teams that he won't be a locker room detriment.
"I think I'm doing a pretty good job," Mathieu said at the end of his workout. "The way I'm carrying myself, with the combine and with the way pro day just went, we're looking forward to the future, looking forward to being part of somebody's team."
Mathieu was put through a series of drills involving quick change of directions to full sprints, then turning to catch the football. He looked every bit as smooth going through those drills as he did in 2011, when his penchant for creating turnovers and making big plays on special teams turned him into a Heisman Trophy finalist as a sophomore.
"I thought I was more smooth today (than at the combine)," he said. "I've worked on a lot of position-specific drills since then."
More importantly, he carried himself in a professional manner, mindful that NFL scouts, coaches and front-office personnel in attendance are all well-versed in his history and are particularly mindful of how he presents himself.
"I think they know everything already (about my background)," Mathieu said. "I think they just want you to be honest with them. That was my best friend coming into this offseason and going into this draft was, just be honest, and open."
Mathieu said he knows he let his team down. But he also said he wants to impress on teams that he brings positive attributes to a locker room as well.
"I think back at LSU, and I was a true leader," Mathieu said. "I know I made some mistakes, but I think was a leader for my teammates and I was always helping those guys."
Reid affirmed Mathieu's locker room role, noting the Tigers missed him in 2012.
"I missed being on the field with him," Reid said. "He did good. He can fly. He did everything I expected him to do and better.
"Somebody's going to take a chance on him, and they are going to get a great player."
Tyrann Mathieu wore a No. 7 jersey Wednesday and went through drills at LSU's indoor practice facility next to Eric Reid and Tharold Simon.