Hobbs Column: It's all up to the Honey Badger now

By By Scooter Hobbs / American Press

BATON ROUGE — The NFL, well, the Arizona Cardinals anyway, apparently are starting their very own chapter of Big Brothers

of America.

They do a lot of good work.

They may have their hands full here.

It’s the Big Brothers version of intensive care.

But that appears to be the plan.

Maybe the Cardinals drafted LSU’s Patrick Peterson two years ago with the express purpose of having a solid-citizen influence

on hand should the opportunity ever arise to draft supreme knucklehead Tyrann “I’m not the Honey Badger Anymore” Mathieu.

Peterson fits the bill. LSU hasn’t produced many straighter arrows, certainly none more talented. And Mathieu has looked up

to him since he was a freshman at LSU while Peterson was still auditioning for the first round.

But the Cardinals were leaving nothing to chance.

Just before closing their eyes and jumping in with both feet to select the Honey Badger in the third round, they got a steal

by taking LSU middle linebacker Kevin Minter in the second round.

Minter, for my money, was the best of the slew of LSU defensive players drafted, and, off the field, is cut from the same

mold as Peterson, head on straight, mature and responsible beyond his years.

Maybe they can double cover Mathieu, whose strength as a football player (and weakness off the field) has always been his

elusiveness and his uncanny ability to show up in unexpected places with mischief on his mind.

Good luck with that one.

Some of Peterson’s preliminary work on the case has already met with mixed results.

Remember, Mathieu after some obligatory

drug rehab following his dismissal from the LSU team, reacted by

inviting Jordan Jefferson,

he of a somewhat shadier background, over to his apartment. The

cops arrived moments later and — what do you know? — marijuana

was found and arrests followed.

Probably a big misunderstanding.

After his own NFL season was over,

Peterson all but took over the Mathieu case on a full-time basis. There

was reported progress,

even some Honey Badger humility, followed by an encouraging

workout at the NFL combine.

It appeared somebody might take a flyer on the puzzling talent, maybe as early as the third round.

But Mathieu’s “people” designed a flier suddenly declaring Mathieu a first-round draft pick and inviting anybody who might

be in New York City — which is usually a good many — to join him for the celebration.

Many thought at first it was satire, and Mathieu said he didn’t approve the “first-round” part. But it didn’t stop him from

serving it up as an invitation on his own Twitter account.

Mathieu unfortunately couldn’t get past

the velvet ropes and into the green room at the official NFL gala at

Radio City Music

Hall. So he settled for a New York restaurant, accompanied by, an

NBA-worthy entourage that, according to USA Today, included

two high school buddies, a pair of ESPN cameras, a girlfriend, his

high school coach, a manager, a marketing assistant and

an agent — a support group that evidently thought it would be a

dandy idea for a kid trying to live down a party-hearty reputation

to stage a grand coming-out gala amid the bright lights of New

York City.

That was a fairly sedate restaurant, but the posse played along, sweating out each first-round pick hopefully, expectantly,

as if the cell phone could buzz at any moment.

Patrick Peterson wasn’t there for that silliness.

Somehow some sanity crept in and the scheduled after-draft party — at what would be more properly described as a Manhattan

“trendy nightspot” — had been canceled in advance.

The Honey Badger was back in his hometown of New Orleans Friday night when the Cardinals made their bold move, well off Broadway

and away from the first round’s bright lights.

LSU head coach Les Miles, who no doubt would have loved to have wrung his neck several times, called with congratulations.

The Cardinals think they can prosper where Miles couldn’t, basically by changing stupid.

Peterson can surely help Mathieu. He can counsel him, take him under his wing, offer advice, keep an eye on him, slap him on the wrist and wipe his chin if need be.

But he can’t adopt him, can’t trail him 24 hours a day.

That’s up to the Honey Badger now.

After a year’s forced sabbatical, he will get to play football again.

That’s the one positive thing in his life so far that he seems to have a natural knack for.

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Scooter Hobbs covers LSU athletics. Email him at shobbs@americanpress.com