Former LSU Heisman Trophy finalist Tyrann Mathieu's road back to college football stardom next season may have taken another major hit this fall.
According to a story set to appear in the October 22, 2012 issue of Sports Illustrated, Mathieu's eligibility could potentially be in jeopardy after sources told SI that the 20-year-old received benefits at a local night club outside LSU.
Here's the excerpt from SI's Thayer Evans and Pete Thamel:
Since last January, Mathieu has allowed his image to be used on a flyer promoting an event at a local night club, appeared in several promotional videos online and, multiple sources told SI, received benefits at the club that could affect his eligibility.
UPDATE: Wednesday, October 17 at 12:38 p.m. ET
Tyrann Mathieu attempted to stop the SI article from being released, according to FOX reporter Jennifer Hale.
All three declined to be interviewed for SI's article, which Tyrann Mathieu described as 'ridiculous' after he read it Tuesday.
Tyrone Mathieu say Sports Illustrated refused to accept their decision not to be interviewed for the story.
'They called from blocked numbers repeatedly, asking me why I was dodging them,' Tyrone Mathieu said. "They came to my home and that of my elderly mother on multiple occasions.'
Tyrone Mathieu hired a law firm last week to attempt to stop SI's interview requests. The letter from Irpino Law Firm in New Orleans is addressed to Peter Thamel and Sports Illustrated and reads in part, 'You have been consistently harassing Mr. Mathieu and his family regarding personal issues. Mr. Mathieu informed you that they have no desire to respond to your inquiries. Despite repeated assertions of this position... you have trespassed on the Mathieu's property and otherwise violated their privacy... Demand is made that you cease and desist from any attempts at making contact with Mr. Mathieu or any member of his family.'
---END OF UPDATE---
Mathieu, referred to by many as the Honey Badger for his hairstyle and tenacious style of play on the field, was released from LSU's football program back on August 10 for failing multiple drug tests.
Evans and Thamel also report that after Mathieu was dismissed from the team, he "underwent four weeks of drug rehabilitation with John Lucas in Houston before returning to school."
Rather than transfer to a lower-division program and then enter the 2013 NFL draft next spring, Mathieu seems content to sit out this season and return to the field for LSU next season.
Mathieu recorded six forced fumbles, four touchdowns and two interceptions for LSU's defense in 2011, becoming just the third defensive player in 17 years to be named a Heisman finalist and helping the Tigers to a conference championship and a 13-1 season.
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