Tyrann Mathieu spent four weeks of rehab with John Lucas before returning to LSU as a student this fall. The first two weeks were in-patient drug rehab. The second two weeks were counseling and therapy. Mathieu is scheduled to return to Houston in December when school ends to continue to work with Lucas. Lucas sat down with SI recently to discuss Mathieu's future.
SI: How rare is it to put someone with a marijuana problem in an in-patient facility?
Lucas: Very rare. Most people, when you're in detox and go in-patient now, it's normally for Oxycontin, things that people have a hard time detoxing from. Marijuana isn't hard to detox. The craving is really strong, but the detox isn't.
SI: Why an in-patient facility with users of harder drugs?
Lucas: You don't need to look at the differences, you need to look at the similarities. Look at what your use has brought you. Just because you're at the Four Seasons doesn't mean you're a better drug addict than the guy at the Motel 6. That's the thing athletes have a hard time identifying with about their trouble. The same marijuana you're smoking on the street as a homeless guy is the same marijuana you're smoking when you're in the NBA.
SI: What did you tell Tyrann in New Orleans before he came out to Houston for a month of rehab?
Lucas: You can't do anything until you address this because whether or not you have a problem, you're off the team. You can go back to LSU as a student. If you're running to go play football, that's wrong. But if you're running because it's your mistake, you need to address what your mistake was and move forward.
SI: Any thoughts about his return to the field?
Lucas: He reminded me of myself in the respect of people who are very good. They don't think like they're not going to be a pro. It just may not be the time to go pro. I've worked with a lot of the great athletes. For talent and skill, he's right there with the rest of them. I know about his size, but I wouldn't be betting against him.
SI: What does Tyrann have to do going forward?
Lucas: What Tyrann has to do, he's got to clean house, trust God and help others. Clean house means clean his mind and play the tape of what he's getting to do all the way through. He's not going to go to AA meetings and sit in the meetings. He can learn some basic principals to live his life now. By doing that, that causes people to eliminate themselves. Your change in your behavior will drop them off by themselves, if they know that you have changed.
SI: Is Tyrann a marijuana addict?
Lucas: That hasn't been identified. What has been identified is that he tested positive. Because of that, this is an issue. You might be a functional user or whatever it is, you may not be destitute, but when you use it you seem to get caught. For me, that's a problem.
SI: How was Tyrann to deal with?
Lucas: He was great, but when he'd talk smack to me, I say to him, "I only have two words, 'Roll Tide.' (Lucas stretches out the words when he speaks them and laughs). For me, that was an antidote.
SI: How is he doing?
Lucas: It's not over. There's no decisions to be made now, there's no future coming right now. The only future we can hope for right now is that he can get back on the team.