LSU legends get a kick out of Tyrann Mathieu’s charity event
METAIRIE – Les Miles will be in Natchitoches next month to be inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
Patrick Peterson will be in the Merecedes-Benz Superdome on Oct. 27 when his Arizona Cardinals face the New Orleans Saints.
Tyrann Mathieu will be starting his seventh NFL training camp and first with the Kansas City Chiefs in July.
But on Saturday all three LSU legends were together at the Shrine on Airline as Mathieu held his second annual charity Kickball Classic to raise money for his Tyrann Mathieu Foundation.
“I’m always excited to come back home in a positive way,” said Mathieu, a New Orleans native and St. Augustine High School alumnus. “I’m trying my best to really impact the community. It’s been a long road for me, but I like to take the people of New Orleans and Louisiana with me. They’re so supportive of me.
“They’ve seen my ups and downs. It’s only right that I come back home and try my best to give back especially with the platform that I have today.”
Mathieu, a cornerback and return specialist who was one of the top college football players in the country in 2010 and 2011 before being kicked off the LSU team for failing multiple drug tests, said he’s looking forward to his first opportunity to face Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes for the first time in off-season workouts next week.
“The Chiefs have a great locker room, a great group of talent, a lot of young guys,” Mathieu said. “They’ve got a heck of a quarterback, which always makes things easier.”
Mathieu keeps a close eye on the Tigers from afar and called last season’s 10-3 record in coach Ed Orgeron’s second full season “a positive step in the right direction.”
“Les Miles set a really high standard, especially recruiting great talent, a lot of first-round picks, a lot of household names,” Mathieu said. “I think coach O has got a few of those guys on his team as well.
“I’m always going to support LSU. I really think coach O is doing it the right way.”
Miles, who rolled out a ceremonial first pitch to his former player Mathieu, became LSU’s second-winningest coach before being fired four games into his 12th season in 2016 and being replaced by Orgeron.
After sitting out nearly three full seasons and wondering if he would get another chance as a head coach, Miles at age 65 is preparing for his first game as head coach at Kansas.
“It’s exactly what I wanted to do,” Miles said. “I knew it wasn’t going to work, me not doing football. I enjoy taking a team to the field, watching them improve and watching them play. It’s what I do.”
He did it so well with the Tigers that he was an easy selection for induction into the Louisiana Hall.
“I was thrilled to be nominated,” Miles said. “There are so many people on the perimeter of what I was doing that helped me be successful. I have a lot of thank yous. We had great players and coaches. I was just the head coach.”
The NFL revealed this week that Peterson, one of the most decorated defensive players in LSU history and an eight-time Pro Bowler, will be suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs.
“I’m definitely disappointed in something of that nature and having my name attached to it,” Peterson said. “I’ve got to move forward from it. It’s out now. I own up to it. At the end of the day there’s nothing we can do now. We can’t dwell on it. We can’t re-live the past.
“As a father and as a husband you have to learn to roll with punches and put it behind me. I thank my family, my teammates, the organization for supporting me and being behind me. Now we can put this thing behind us and I look forward to returning for Week 7 against the Giants.”
Peterson’s second game back will be against the Saints in the Dome.
“I love playing that stadium – just the excitement, the crowd,” Peterson said. “It just reminds me of Death Valley a lot – just how crazy and how loud it can be in there.”
Another former Tiger – Giants wide receiver Russell Shepard – also participated in the kickball game as did former New Orleans Hornets guard J.R. Smith.
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Les East is a nationally renowned freelance journalist. His blog on SportsNOLA.com was named “Best Sports Blog” in 2016 by the Press Club of New Orleans. For 2013 he was named top sports columnist in the United States by the Society of Professional Journalists and Louisiana Sportswriter of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. You can follow…