LSU Football: Why Dismissing Tyrann Mathieu Was the Right Call

Sean MerrimanCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2012

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 03:  Head coach Les Miles of the LSU Tigers congratulates Tyrann Mathieu #7 after Mathieu earned the MVP trophy in their 42-10 win over the Georgia Bulldogs during the 2011 SEC Championship Game at Georgia Dome on December 3, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

There was a reason to cheer for Tyrann Mathieu, and it had nothing to do with being an LSU fan.

Mathieu has the ability to change a football game in the blink of an eye. But he can do so without throwing or catching a pass, without taking a handoff and without recording a sack. In fact, he is an All-American cornerback who only recorded two interceptions last season.

What makes Mathieu so special is his ability to create big plays in other areas. He caused and recovered four fumbles last season, two of which he returned for touchdowns. He had 76 tackles from the defensive back position, 59 of which were solo efforts.

Most notably, Mathieu returned 27 punts for 421 yards and two touchdowns. That's an average of just under 16 yards per return, which is exceptional in the college game.

But guess what?

All of those numbers are irrelevant now, at least for this upcoming season, as Mathieu was dismissed from LSU's football program earlier this month following multiple failed substance-abuse tests.

The former Heisman Trophy finalist did not properly represent himself as a student athlete. He failed to live up to those standards that are set for every member of that LSU football team, whether it is an All-American, or the final man on the roster.

Therefore, LSU head coach Les Miles had no choice but to dismiss Mathieu from the team, regardless of how valuable he was on the field. Regardless of how many fumble recoveries he had or punt returns he took in for touchdowns.

Remember, Mathieu was suspended for one game last season after failing a drug test, and he had been undergoing counseling throughout the offseason.

Miles gave his star player a second chance, but it obviously didn't make a difference, which is why there was no other choice than to dismiss Mathieu from the team.

Mathieu, who was not only the face of this LSU football program but one of the faces of college football in general, let his team down in favor of a drug problem that he couldn't put past him. He made a selfish decision in putting himself first, and in return, it leaves a huge void on a team that is expected to compete for a national championship this season.

How can Les Miles count on someone to help this team win if that person isn't even able to help himself?

Earlier this week, it was reported that Mathieu had checked into a drug rehabilitation program in Houston, Texas and will remain there throughout this year's college football season.

There was reason to cheer for Mathieu, but now, instead of cheering for him on the football field, fans need to cheer for him to help himself in something much larger than the game of football.