The four former LSU football players arrested Thursday on marijuana possession charges were all on the team within the last 10 months, including Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu, who was on the team less than three months ago. Chances are, Mathieu and the other three former players – quarterback Jordan Jefferson and former defensive backs Karnell Hatcher and Derrick Bryant – stay in contact with and see their former teammates still on the LSU team, which includes two present starters who were suspended for a game last season for positive drug tests. But Baton Rouge Police are not planning on investigating current LSU players concerning marijuana.
“I don’t see that happening at all,” Baton Rouge Police public information officer Cpl. Ljean McKneely said Friday. “This arrest happened just by chance.” When police went to Mathieu’s apartment on West State Street near the LSU campus Thursday afternoon, their intent was to locate only Jefferson after he had gotten into an argument with a maintenance worker at the apartment complex when Jefferson could not enter the gated facility. That maintenance worker called police because of the altercation after he saw Mathieu let Jefferson in to the complex and later into his apartment.
“There was a disturbance, and the police only went to the apartment to ask Jefferson to leave the premises,” McKneely said. “Then they walked into the apartment (of Mathieu) and voila. They smelled marijuana, and everything else stemmed from that.” Police found 10 bags of high grade marijuana estimated at a street value between $100 and $200 along with a digital scale and a marijuana grinder used to roll the drug into cigarettes.
Mathieu, a junior from New Orleans, and Jefferson, a native of Destrehan near New Orleans who was LSU’s quarterback from late in 2008 through 2010 and late in 2011, were arrested on misdemeanor charges of simple possession. Bryant, a native of Lawrenceville, Ga., was arrested on a more serious felony charge of possession with intent to distribute as seven bags of marijuana were found in his book sack. Hatcher, a native of Delray Beach, Fla., was arrested on a felony charge as it was his second possession offense. One of the bags was found in a dresser drawer of Mathieu’s.
All four were booked into East Baton Rouge Parish prison and spent Thursday night there. According to a jail spokesman, only Hatcher remained in jail as of Friday afternoon on a bond of $3,500. Mathieu and Jefferson were each bailed out for $500 on Friday morning, and Bryant was bailed out Friday morning for $9,000. Mathieu is the only one of the four definitely enrolled in school presently, according to LSU’s sports information office. But any LSU student arrested is vulnerable to expulsion, according to student manual rule 8.2 concerning non-academic misconduct, “including being charged with a misdemeanor offense.”
LSU associate athletic director and associate vice-chancellor Herb Vincent referred questions about Mathieu’s status as a student to the Dean of Students office, which would not comment. A Heisman Trophy finalist last season because of his uncanny ability to create and recover turnovers as well as return kicks, Mathieu had hopes of returning to the LSU football team in 2013 after being dismissed from the team on Aug. 10 for repeatedly testing positive for marijuana over the previous year. Mathieu and current junior starters – tailback Spencer Ware and cornerback Tharold Simon – were suspended for the Auburn game on Oct. 22, 2011, for testing positive for synthetic marijuana.
Instead of transferring to a lower division school where he would have been immediately eligible to play this season, Mathieu checked into a well regarded drug rehabilitation center in Houston shortly after his Aug. 10 dismissal and then enrolled at LSU in September. He appeared on his way back. LSU coach Les Miles said just recently on a national radio show that he thought Mathieu’s saga would eventually have a “happy ending,” but he did not necessarily mean that Mathieu would be on the LSU team in 2013. Miles, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva and LSU associate athletic director for NCAA compliance Bo Bahnsen all said at the time of Mathieu’s dismissal that he could not return to the team and cited the school’s substance abuse policy. Alleva did not return a call on Friday.
Mathieu can still be chosen in the NFL Draft next spring. “I just feel like Tyrann should have never went back there (to LSU) because you’re surrounding yourself with the same environment that you already got in trouble with,” Mathieu’s sister Darrineka told Sports Illustrated.com on Friday. “I’m hurt for him. I’m sorry that it happened to him, but there’s nothing else I can do.”
Jefferson’s arrest is his second in just over a year. He was arrested on a felony charge of simple battery on Aug. 19 of 2011 for his role in a bar fight near the LSU campus and suspended indefinitely from the team. The charge was decreased to a misdemeanor, and Jefferson returned to the team on Sept. 29 and finished the season. He has a discovery hearing concerning the battery charge in the 19th judicial district of East Baton Rouge Parish on Tuesday in which a trial date will likely be selected, his attorney Lance Unglesby said Friday.
Jefferson’s most recent arrest could cause him problems with the previous charge, but Unglesby said Jefferson was only in the wrong place at the wrong time on Thursday. “Jordan Jefferson was not in possession of marijuana,” said Unglesby, who is working on the case with his father, attorney Lewis Unglesby. “When the evidence is untangled, it will be apparent that Jordan Jefferson was not in possession of marijuana.”
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