Former LSU defensive backs Patrick Peterson, Tyrann Mathieu and Rashard Robinson have all taken very different routes to the NFL, but the relationship between the three players has helped Mathieu, and most recently Robinson, overcome off-field issues to make it to the next level.
Robinson, who was taken by the San Francisco 49ers in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft, was dismissed from LSU following a failed drug test in 2014 and an arrest in June 2015 after he was accused of breaking into the home of former LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings.
The events created character questions about Robinson as he entered the draft, but Peterson’s relationship with Robinson quelled the concerns of his Arizona Cardinals as the team weighed the decision to select Robinson.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
“They asked me questions about Rashard as a person because they already knew what type of player he was,” Peterson said in a phone interview. “They wanted insight into him and I definitely told them how it is. He’s a great person … I did vouch for him. I did put in their ear that he’s a phenomenal player and good person.”
Robinson ended up being chosen by the Cardinals’ NFC West rival 49ers, but the relationship between Robinson, Peterson and Mathieu –who also plays for the Cardinals — has a lot of history in addition to their LSU connection.
Robinson and Peterson attended the same high school in Pomono Beach, Fla. and both Mathieu and Robinson have spent time in the past working out with Peterson’s father, Patrick Sr., who is a personal trainer.
All three were first-round talents, but only Peterson was taken in the first round (No. 5 overall in 2011). However, Mathieu has turned into an All-Pro safety after he dealt with his own failed drug tests as a member of the Tigers and a subsequent year away from football.
Robinson has the physical tools to be a productive defensive back, but it remains to be seen whether he will follow in the footsteps of Peterson and Mathieu. However, Peterson thinks Robinson’s circuitous journey — much like Mathieu — will ultimately make him a better player.
“… I think by him (Robinson) sitting out a year — especially being able to play football all his life and then to have the game taken away from him — that hurts,” Peterson told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I think he learned his lesson. This is his pride and joy. This is what he lives for. I think he realizes that he has something special and he doesn’t want to goof up again.”