The tears in Tyrann Mathieu's beady brown eyes only began to tell the tale of his heartache.
They welled last month as the star LSU cornerback spoke longingly of his maternal grandfather, Lorenzo Mathieu, who helped raise him here in this resilient city until he died of complications from a heart attack when Mathieu was 5.
But the tears disappeared and Mathieu's eyes reddened when he spoke of his biological mother, Tyra Mathieu. She has five children, and he was the only one she didn't raise, leaving him to live with a maternal uncle and aunt — his adoptive parents — after his grandfather's death.
And Mathieu's eyes narrowed coldly at the mention of his father, Darrin Hayes, who is serving a life sentence in the Louisiana State Penitentiary for murder.
"It's hard to talk about," Mathieu said of his family.
Yet, as heartbreaking as Mathieu's past is, it perhaps explains his fiery passion and relentless drive on the field. Both have made the undersized sophomore one of college football's most dazzling playmakers, as well as a Heisman Trophy finalist and the SEC Defensive Player of the Year this season.
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