Tyrann Mathieu plans to play angry next year. The former LSU cornerback was kicked out of school and sat out the 2012 college football season because of failed drug tests. An arrest ended his chances of returning to the team.
Mathieu is confident he'll return to being the player who was a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist.
"I think I have enough anger inside of me with not playing football this year," Mathieu said Thursday on NFL Network's "NFL AM." "I've got a whole lot of things inside of me that I want to get out, so I'm going to do that through football. I won't do that through any drugs or abuse myself anymore."
Mathieu said anger always has been part of his game and explained he wasn't ready for stardom at a young age. He had been using marijuana since he was 12 or 13 years old after being introduced to it by a family member. It's been a struggle to break habits that were part of his environment for so long, Mathieu added.
"I always think I played with a little bit of edge," Mathieu said. "All the things I been through in life, I kind of took that to the field with me. Just this past year with not playing football, that kind of got me a little mad. I'm going to take that to the field with me too."
Mathieu proved at the NFL Scouting Combine that the athletic play-making talent still is there. The off-the-field questions will affect his draft position and will follow Mathieu until he has been in the NFL for some time without incident.
Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.