In a span of less than one year, Tyrann Mathieu went from being one of college football's best players to a person sitting in a jail cell. Mathieu, who was a Heisman finalist in 2011, was dismissed from LSU before his 2012 junior season following a string of off-the field issues.
The current Arizona Cardinals defensive back has dealt with a host of substance abuse issues, including an October 2012 arrest for possession of marijuana. Recently, Mathieu has opened up about the problems he has had to overcome during his journey to the NFL, admitting that he had suicidal thoughts shortly after his departure from the Tigers' program.
">@Mathieu_Era on suicidal thoughts: 'The biggest thing is to be open about it':http://t.co/9LCMNmFpSJ
— Craig Morgan (@craigsmorgan) June 12, 2014
— Craig Morgan (@cmorganfoxaz) June 12, 2014
In an interview with Fox Sports' Craig Morgan, Mathieu detailed his state of mind during the months following him leaving Les Miles' team.
"I think the biggest thing is to be open about it," Mathieu said Tuesday after the first day of Cardinals minicamp. "Part of it is reaching out to others trying to help; part of it is self-counseling, talking about it, not shying away from it. Most people try to isolate themselves and pretend like things are all good when a lot of times, that's not how it is."
The worst came when he was sitting in a jail cell following the October 2012 arrest.
"I'm sitting in that jail cell thinking, 'I don't know if I want to go back out there and face the music,' " he said. "I didn't know how I was going to commit suicide in the cell, but that was the direction my life was heading."
"Believe it or not, my cellmates were encouraging me, telling me I was a good football player; telling me I don't need to be thinking about this," Mathieu said. "That's probably why I really didn't do it, but there was an actual moment where I was thinking about, and I'll never forget that feeling."
The 22-year-old appears to be in a better place. He recently tweeted, "I've tried committing suicide. But I didn't, look at me now." The tweet was deleted, but the idea remains present.
"I want to start a foundation called Second Chance," he said. "I was given a second chance, so I want to reach out to different groups of people. It would be nice to give that opportunity to others."
Mathieu had very solid rookie season with Arizona in 2013, recording 68 tackles, two interceptions, one forced fumble and one sack.