ST. GABRIEL, La. (WAFB) - You know the story of the Honey Badger’s rise, and fall, and then rise again to become a lockdown, fearless defender in the NFL.
On Friday, May 17, he was back in the capital area talking to inmates at the Elayn Hunt Correctional Center in St. Gabriel about how he persevered through his past.
One of those inmates is his father, who’s serving a life sentence for second degree murder.
"It's tough, especially I think it was tougher when I was a kid really just not having that presence,” Matthieu said. “I think a lot of kids, they aspire to grow up with their biological fathers and biological mothers and kind of like the things they see in the movies, throwing the football in the yard."
In his remarks, he talked about hope and pushing beyond his past to become the successful person he is today.
Mathieu was there as part of the Education and Empowerment Summit, which addresses criminal justice reform and remaining positive about a future outside of prison. This is one of several programs that’s put on by the correctional system meant to inspire inmates to let them know there’s a way out.
"He's faced opposition along the way,” said Marlon Banks, one of the inmates at Hunt. “He was involved in some negative things, but he turned it around for a positive outcome."
In attendance was East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore. Moore was the DA when Mathieu was arrested during his time at LSU.
"It's kind of rewarding seeing Tyrann Mathieu in person again when I saw him many years ago when it was in a different light,” Moore said. “I just told him that I was really proud of how he's carried himself and from the first time that I saw him and dealt with him to now. He's really grown up. He's a fine young man.”
Mathieu said his journey has not been easy, but he’s hoping his story will inspire others to be successful.
"I may not have had everything I ever wanted growing up, but I feel like I built myself up in a very strong way that it doesn’t necessarily matter what happens or what has happened doesn’t necessarily going to hold me back from what I ultimately want to be,” Mathieu said.