Print and Go Back ESPN.com: College Football [Print without images]

Thursday, August 16, 2012
Updated: August 17, 3:22 PM ET
Tyrann Mathieu in rehab center

ESPN.com news services

NEW ORLEANS -- Former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu has entered a drug rehabilitation program in Houston since being dismissed last week from the team, according to his adoptive father.

Tyrone Mathieu says that the 20-year-old cornerback and punt returner known as the "Honey Badger" has been at the Right Step recovery center and is being counseled by former NBA player John Lucas. Lucas battled substance abuse during his pro career and now mentors others who have dependency issues.

Tyrone Mathieu told ESPN's Joe Schad on Friday that "there is no timeline" on his son's return to academics and football, but that it is not accurate to say his son doing either this fall has been eliminated as a possibility.

Tyrone Mathieu revealed his son's whereabouts to Fox affiliate WVUE-TV in New Orleans before speaking to ESPN. An earlier ESPN.com story stated Mathieu would not attend school again in 2012 or play football this season.

"Tyrann is focused on addressing his issues with Mr. Lucas," Tyrone told Schad. "(Lucas') story speaks for itself. He can help Tyrann and he can help our family."

Tyrone Mathieu said Tyrann and the family need "time to heal" and that football is not a priority.

"Tyrann is working on discipline, maturity and character," Mathieu said. "He's making life adjustments."

Mathieu was kicked off LSU's team Aug. 10 for what a source told ESPN was a violation of the school's substance-abuse policy. The violation came just months after he won the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player as a sophomore while becoming the first defensive back to be a Heisman finalist since 1997.

LSU has said that about 20 college football programs have asked for permission to speak with Mathieu about transferring. Mathieu has visited McNeese State in Lake Charles, La., where classes began Wednesday.

Nicholls State in Thibodaux, La., also has been granted permission to speak with Mathieu, but has not met with him yet. Classes at Nicholls begin Aug. 22.

Mathieu, who has two seasons of eligibility remaining, had expressed interest in enrolling in classes at LSU, with the hope of returning to the team in 2013, if it can be worked out with the school, according to ESPN sources. Mathieu also is eligible to enter the 2013 NFL draft.

But it remains unclear what Mathieu's future may hold if he sits out this season entirely. LSU coach Les Miles has declined to close the door entirely on the possibility, however remote, that Mathieu could play for LSU again in 2013.

Miles said on Aug. 10, when he announced Mathieu's dismissal, that it would make more sense for Mathieu to transfer. Since then, he has said he can guarantee only that Mathieu won't be playing for LSU in 2012 and declined to speculate beyond that.

Miles and LSU officials also have said that they've offered Mathieu whatever help he needs to transfer.

On Thursday, Miles said he spoke with Mathieu Tuesday and told him "just to make a great decision. Do the right things. He'll do that."

Miles did not say whether Mathieu was at a rehab center.

"I just wanted him to know that we'll support him in whatever he wants to do and help him where we can," Miles said. "At this point in time, he needs to do the things that make him happy and that makes sense for his future. If he does that, we'll all be happy."

The only public statements Mathieu has made since his dismissal consist of a few posts on his Twitter page, on which he has changed his avatar from a photo of himself in an LSU uniform to a motto displayed in white letters on a black background, reading: "Be yourself. There is something that you can do better than any other. Listen to the inward voice and bravely obey that."

One of his recent posted messages says: "Patience.... Sometimes you have to stop doing what is easy and begin to do the things that are hard."

Mathieu had been expected to play a leading role in LSU's effort to return to a second consecutive national title game.

Last season, LSU's only defeat was a 21-0 loss to Alabama in the Allstate BCS National Championship Game.

Information from The Associated Press and GeauxTigerNation's Gary Laney was used in this report.