INDIANAPOLIS – The Honey Badger has spoken, and he's no longer using that nickname.
Tyrann Mathieu, one of the more controversial figures here at the Combine, turned in a performance that rivaled Manti Te'o's from yesterday, answering more than 10 minutes' worth of questions that mostly dealt with his multiple suspensions and stint in drug rehab. He also said he has nothing against the nickname but is simply Tyrann at this point.
The former LSU cornerback was ticketed for stardom but couldn't seem to stay out of trouble, and on Sunday he humbly accepted all responsibility for his prior actions. He did so without ducking any of the issues that have dogged him, and he did so while looking his inquisitors in the eye.
"First of all I want them to trust me," Mathieu said of what he's hoping to convey to teams. "And that I'm a football player. I want to be a leader on the field as well as off it.
"I'm not totally asking them to trust me right now. What I am asking is for them to give me an opportunity to play a game again. I've had a lot of time to reflect on it, especially without football, so it's really given me a different outlook on life, just about being the right kind of person."
Mathieu explained that he put a lot of things before football and realized those things weren't as fun without the game.
"I've been to rehab, I've been to counseling, I have a sponsor," Mathieu said. "I've been surrounded by people who want what I want.
"I know what it's like to be humiliated. To go back down that road, not a chance in this world, not a chance in my lifetime again."
Mathieu had several drug-related suspensions and an eventual arrest for marijuana possession. He claims he hasn't smoke since Oct. 26, but also realizes the damage he's already done. At one point he was considered a Heisman Trophy candidate; but not playing a down in 2012 has his draft stock somewhere in the fourth-round range.
"I respect it," Mathieu said of the possibility that some teams might drop him from their draft boards. "I totally understand it, but at the end of the day, I want those guys to really look at me and see me for who I am. That's a football player, and that's the right kind of person. I know I made some mistakes, but I think at the end of the day, I'm able to overcome those mistakes, and I'm able to correct them on a daily basis."