BATON ROUGE, La. (WCBI/ESPN) – Tyrann Mathieu’s chances of returning to LSU’s football team took a serious hit Thursday when the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist and three other former Tigers players were arrested on drug-related charges.
Mathieu and former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson were charged with simple possession of marijuana, the Baton Rouge police department said in a release.
Former Tigers linebacker Karnell Hatcher also was charged with simple possession while former defensive back Derrick Bryant faces the most serious charge of possession with intent to distribute and possession of drug paraphernalia, according to police spokesman Don Kelly.
Known as the “Honey Badger,” Mathieu was kicked off the team in August for failing multiple drug tests. He returned to the school as a regular student, hoping to earn a second chance at returning to the team.
But Thursday’s arrest greatly narrows the chances of such a return for Mathieu, who would have been a junior this year and was suspended last season for failing a drug test for synthetic marijuana.
According to the police report, officers found the marijuana in Mathieu’s apartment Thursday afternoon. Mathieu answered the door, and officers “immediately smelled a strong odor of marijuana,” the police report stated.
After Mathieu, 20, gave the police his consent to search the apartment, officers discovered a marijuana grinder, a digital scale and 10 bags of high-grade marijuana, including seven in Bryant’s backpack, according to the report.
Police say they were called to the apartment complex after receiving a complaint about a man, who later was identified as the 22-year-old Jefferson, forcing his way through the security gate before going to Mathieu’s apartment.
It was the second arrest for Jefferson, the starting quarterback on last season’s team that lost to Alabama in the BCS National Championship game.
A three-year starter, Jefferson missed the first three games last season after being arrested for his involvement in a bar fight during August camp. He was reinstated to the team after charges against him were reduced to a misdemeanor.
Lance Unglesby, Jefferson’s lawyer in the misdemeanor criminal case, said a discovery hearing in that matter is scheduled next week. He said his client has always maintained his innocence in the bar fight.
“My opinion that Jordan is a fine young man remains the same,” Unglesby said.
Unglesby said he had not yet been provided with any details of Jefferson’s latest arrest, but stressed, “All individuals are presumed innocent and I look forward to the opportunity to examine the facts of this case to find out what really happened.”
It was not immediately known whether Mathieu, Hatcher or Bryant had lawyers.
Hatcher was a linebacker who started last season until losing his starting job to current starter Kevin Minter. Bryant played sparingly but had a significant role in LSU’s 2011 win over Auburn, playing after the suspension of Mathieu created a need for LSU in its nickel package.