Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu says last week's NFL Rookie Symposium, where the league's first-year players got a crash course into what life is like as a professional athlete, was a worthwhile experience.
Even though he has heard messages similar to the ones he heard last week in Aurora, Ohio, the words still resonated with him, he said.
"I didn't look at it [as] redundant. I looked at it as more people trying to help me," Mathieu, nicknamed the Honey Badger, told the team's website. "My process is a bit different than the rest of the rookies there. For me, it was an experience I needed."
The Cardinals took a bit of a risk in drafting the troubled but talented cornerback out of LSU with the No. 69 pick. A Heisman Trophy finalist in 2011, Mathieu was kicked off the team by LSU coach Les Miles in preseason camp in August for failing multiple drug tests. He was arrested with three former teammates in October when police found 10 bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his apartment.
He spent two weeks in a drug treatment program run by former NBA player John Lucas and worked to rehabilitate his image in the months leading to the draft.
Among the speakers Mathieu heard at the symposium were Adam "Pacman" Jones and former NBA player Chris Herren, who struggled with drug problems of his own. He also cited speeches by former NFL defensive backs Brian Dawkins and Aeneas Williams, who stressed that it's important to keep a positive attitude and envision success instead of failure.
"For me, [the symposium] was real educational, inspiring and one of those reality checks, and I've had a few of those since I've become an Arizona Cardinal," Mathieu told the team's website.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.