In a fairly light-hearted interview with Kim Jones of the NFL Network during the NFL Combine, New York Giants' coach Tom Coughlin said he watches the 10-yard split when players run the 40-yard dash at the combine, but doesn't generally pay attention to the rest. There are, however, exceptions. "Every year, there's always one or two I watch to the end," Coughlin told Jones.
The player Coughlin watched from beginning to end at the recently concluded 2013 NFL Combine? Tyrann Mathieu, the talented but troubled cornerback from LSU.
[Related: Coughlin's lucky seat]
What are we to make of that? It could mean absolutely nothing. It could mean Mathieu's bleached blond hair caught Coughlin's attention. What if it means, however, that the Giants have real interest in Mathieu?
Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as the nation's best defensive player in 2011 and was a Heisman Trophy finalist, but was dismissed from the LSU team prior to the 2012 season multiple rules violations -- believed to be repeated failed drug tests. He has been undergoing treatment for substance abuse.
At the combine, Mathieu sounded like a person committed to not making those mistakes again.
"I've been to rehab," he said. "I have counseling. I have a sponsor. I know what it's like to be humiliated. To go back down that road? Not a chance in my lifetime."
Can Mathieu be believed, or trusted? That is what any NFL team who takes a gamble on him -- at this point maybe in the third or fourth round -- will have to try and find out.
Dan Kadar of SB Nation's Mocking The Draft called Coughlin's mention of Mathieu "interesting."
"I generally take Coughlin at his word," Kadar said. "So their interest in Mathieu may be a little more than other teams. But so many are probably spending a ton of time on him."
Former NFL star and current NFL Network analyst Deion Sanders, who knows a little about elite cornerback play, is buying into Mathieu.
"This kid is gonna be a baller immediately in the NFL," Sanders said."This is an every-down corner. This is a starter -- immediately."
Before the former Honey Badger can do that, however, he has to convince at least one NFL general manager to trust him. Could that GM be Jerry Reese?