Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu has gone through his fair share of demons off the football field. Now apparently on the road to recovery from the substance abuse issues that cost him his career at LSU and a potential top-20 selection in the NFL draft, Mathieu hasn’t strayed away from answering questions and opening up to the public. 

It’s too early to tell whether Mathieu has completely cleared himself of what haunted him in the past, but it does seem that he’s headed in the right direction…at least from a mental standpoint.

Mathieu completely understands the rehabilitation process here. He is now (and will always be in recovery) from the substance abuse mistakes that he made in the past. It’s the working knowledge that addicts have when it comes to living day-to-day. Once a recovering addict has gone through his/her steps, only then are they ready to sponsor others and give that type of guidance.

For Gordan, it’s all about getting on that wagon and seeking help privately. This is something that those around him seem to believe that he needs to do right away.

That may include reaching out to others within football who are at the point in their lives where they can help Gordon. And Mathieu knows full well he’s not at that point right now.

In addition to that, the second-year defender had some other advice for Gordon in an appearance on NFL Network ( h/t Arizona Cardinals official website).

Me having been through it and having a little bit of experience with that, I don’t think anybody in the world could possibly tell him anything,” Mathieu said. “No one could tell me anything when I was going through it; I had to figure it out for myself. Hopefully he will get the point.

Hopefully he will get the message, but most of the time it takes for people to hit rock bottom for them to start believing in their self and start seeking help. A lot of people can reach out to you but that doesn’t mean you always take that help and take that advice. He just has to want it for himself.

Those of you who have been close to someone who has suffered through substance abuse know full well that they are beyond help unless they want to be helped themselves. That’s the ultimate point Mathieu is making here. It’s the old saying, “I can’t help you if you don’t want to be helped.” This rings truer in substance abuse than nearly every other aspect of life.

Mathieu continued…

You have to weigh your pros and your cons,” Mathieu said. “What do you want to be in life and who do you not want to be in life? You have to add all of those things up. I’m pretty sure who you want to be in life will weigh a lot more than who you don’t want to be in life. Hopefully he can get that. I’m still young myself; I don’t know too much about it but I do know that it takes a lot to look in that mirror and fix yourself.

Courtesy of USA Today: Mathieu hit rock bottom during his LSU days
Courtesy of USA Today: Mathieu hit rock bottom during his LSU days

Mathieu’s story is similar to what Gordon is going through right now. Seemingly out of chances heading into the 2013 NFL draft, “Honey Badger” knew full well that he needed to get his life straight off the field if he was going to be given an opportunity to succeed on the field. Fortunately for Mathieu and with some hard work from the man himself, he seems to be on the road to redemption right now.

Gordon, who is facing a one-year suspension from the NFL, was arrested last week on DUI charges in North Carolina. Until settled, this might not have a bearing on his appeal later this month. But it’s readily apparent that the third-year wide receiver won’t be around the Cleveland Browns for the 2014 season. After that, it really is anyone’s guess.

Let’s hope he takes Mathieu’s advice to heart. Once Gordon does that, he has taken the first step in what promises to be a long recovery process and potential return to the field. Until then, he can’t even think about football. It all needs to be about getting himself straight off the field. That’s the only way any NFL team will give Gordon the same chance that Arizona gave Mathieu.