Former LSU and current Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu is turning a negative into a positive.
Mathieu wasn’t sure if he could return to New Orleans for a period of time. He received death threats stemming from a Twitter rant regarding former New Orleans Saints defensive end Will Smith, who was shot and killed in New Orleans in April. A couple of months later, Mathieu was back in his hometown coaching a youth football camp.
Mathieu created the “Heart of a Badger” camp, which hosted approximately 400 kids at New Orleans’ City Park this weekend. The camp also featured some very special guests, such as Tigers coach Les Miles, former LSU cornerback and Mathieu’s Arizona teammate, Patrick Peterson, and current Tigers star running back Leonard Fournette.
Mathieu said his previous comments came from a passionate place.
“This was a place I grew up at, a place that means a lot to me,” Mathieu told ESPN.com’s Mike Triplett. “All my family’s here. The most important thing is that I lost a lot of family members here. So I spoke from an emotional place, a personal place. And you never want to see anybody lose their life. So that was really the gist of my saying what I said at that time.”
Mathieu took advantage of the trip to spend time with family, according to Triplett, but he won’t be gone for long. He will be returning to New Orleans to be honored at the Hope for 2Morrow Gala next weekend, according to Triplett.