Suspended star re-enrolls at LSU

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Suspended star re-enrolls at LSU

From Comcast SportsNetBATON ROUGE, La. (AP) -- Tyrann Mathieu has opened a new chapter at LSU.Whether the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist known as the Honey Badger ever plays football for the Tigers again remains to be seen.As Mathieu was enrolling in school for the fall semester on Tuesday, LSU coach Les Miles was maintaining his stance that the time is not right to speculate on the former star cornerback's future with the program.All that is certain at this point is that Mathieu, who was dismissed from the team Aug. 10 for failed drug tests, won't be playing this season, which continues Saturday night with the Washington Huskies' visit to Tiger Stadium."I think he's making some quality decisions for himself," Miles said of Mathieu's efforts to address personal matters and his return to school exclusively as a student. "My focus is about my team and preparing game week. ... We certainly wish (Mathieu) the very best."When Mathieu was dismissed, Miles and LSU athletic officials said the move was required by school policies. They assumed Mathieu's departure was permanent, for practical purposes, because he was immediately eligible to transfer to a football program in the FCS, the second tier of Division I, and also will have the option of entering the 2013 NFL draft.However, Mathieu instead went to Houston to check himself into the Right Step recovery center run by former NBA player and coach John Lucas, who battled drug and alcohol problems during his career and now counsels others."(Returning) was a pretty easy decision for me," Mathieu told WVUE-TV. "I had to come back and finish what I started. The team means a lot to me, the staff, the athletic department, the teachers I formed a relationship with. All of that played a role in my decision to come back and do it the right way this time."With Mathieu back on campus, Miles said he was not aware of any school policies that would prevent the popular ex-Tiger from rejoining the team in 2013. That means it would be up to Miles and top athletic administrators to decide if Mathieu can be trusted to avoid further trouble. However, Miles and athletic director Joe Alleva are declining to comment on the matter at this time.LSU safety Eric Reid said he ran into his old teammate on a quad at the center of campus, walking to class."He was very positive, smiling. He knows this is something he has to do and it's going to be better for him in the long run," said Reid. "He knows he made a mistake, and he's moving on from that. He's just looking forward to the future and doing things right from now on."Tigers players who had spoken with Mathieu recently said they were not entirely sure if Mathieu would try to rejoin the Tigers in 2013."I guess we'll just have to wait and see," Reid said. "I'd support any decision that he makes. He's my friend, he's my brother, he's a Tiger, so we're just happy he's back here on campus and we get to see him."Reid, a junior, who also will be eligible for the 2013 NFL draft, said he would not be surprised if Mathieu hoped to delay pro football another year and return to the Tigers."He's from Louisiana. His family's here. We're his family and we're here for him," Reid said. "He has a great support system here, so I don't see why he'd leave."This is college. This is a fun time," Reid continued. "You build relationships that you have the rest of your life."The 20-year-old Mathieu won the Bednarik Award as national defensive player of the year last season and was a big-play machine at cornerback and on special teams. The All-American scored four touchdowns -- two on punt returns and two on fumble returns -- intercepted two passes, caused six fumbles and recovered four.He has two years of college eligibility remaining."I'm still going to train and work out really hard, but it's not going to be my focus right now," said Mathieu. "Instead, I'm going to stay humble, stay grounded and view football from a different angle this time around so I can appreciate it more when I do get the chance to play it again."Freshman Jalen Mills is now starting in Mathieu's old cornerback spot and moving to nickel back on passing downs, when redshirt freshman Jalen Collins comes in.Punt return duties have been taken over by sophomore Odell Beckham Jr., spectacularly so far. Beckham returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in LSU's season-opening 41-14 victory over North Texas last Saturday. He would have had a 76-yard return for a score had it not been nullified by an illegal block.Still, Beckham was quick to say he would welcome Mathieu back to the team."I would love it, not just the things he does on defense or punt returns," Beckham said. "Just the vibe that he brings to this team is something that is unmatched."

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

A's spring training Day 8: Top pick AJ Puk attracts a crowd

MESA, Ariz. — The A’s are excited about 2016 top pick A.J. Puk, that much was apparent by the crowd the lefty attracted for his first “live” bullpen session Tuesday.

Among those watching closely were executive vice president of baseball operations Billy Beane, general manager David Forst, manager Bob Melvin and pitching coach Curt Young.

Puk, who shaved about 20 pounds off his 6-foot-7 frame over the winter, looked strong against a group of hitters that included touted infield prospects Franklin Barreto and Yairo Munoz.

Melvin in particular liked the way Puk, the No. 6 overall pick out of the University of Florida, worked his curve ball into the mix. That’s a pitch he hadn’t used since high school, but he dusted it off back in the fall instructional league with some encouragement from minor league pitching coordinator Gil Patterson, and he’s working to sharpen it this spring as a complement to his fastball, slider and changeup.

“It’s just nice to have another pitch that’s slower than my other three pitches,” Puk said before Tuesday’s workout.

“It’s a four-pitch mix,” Melvin said. “He’s really starting to distinguish between this slider and curve ball. It was quite a crowd around his cage too. When you’re a young kid you tend to notice that, but I thought he responded really well.”

Puk, 21, is rooming with shortstop Richie Martin, a teammate at Florida whom the A’s made their top pick in 2015. They also lived near each other in Tampa this offseason and worked out together.

Puk comes off very quiet upon meeting him, but Martin warns against being fooled.

“It takes him a while, but once he feels comfortable he’ll break out. You’ll see.”

Melvin was impressed with Puk’s physical shape, saying he’s fielded his position well in pitchers’ fielding drills.

CAMP BATTLE Jesse Hahn will start the A’s Cactus League opener Saturday against the defending World Series champion Chicago Cubs. It’ll be a chance for Hahn to make an early impression in his bid for the fifth starter spot.

“After the year he had (in 2016), it’s important for him this year. We have to show some faith in him,” Melvin said. “He performed well for us the year before. Last year wasn’t really consistent. We’ll try to get him out there and get him off to a good start.”

Kendall Graveman will take the ball in Sunday’s spring home opener against the Angels. Sonny Gray and Sean Manaea both will pitch Monday against the Giants and Jharel Cotton and Andrew Triggs will be among the group throwing Tuesday against the Indians.

PROSPECT WATCH: Sean Murphy, the A’s third-round pick in June, has shown a very strong throwing arm early in camp. Is it any wonder Melvin, an ex-catcher, was impressed?

“The kid can throw, it’s special,” Melvin said. “We really like him.”

NOTEWORTHY: Still no word on when reliever Santiago Casilla will arrive at camp from the Dominican Republic. Melvin said he isn’t concerned at this stage, and noted that Casilla has been working out at the team’s complex in the Dominican Republic and gave a motivational talk to the younger players there.

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

Cousins thanks Sacramento: 'Wouldn't trade it for anything'

The Kings traded DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, prompting the All-Star big man to post a heartfelt message on his Instagram account.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. 
#LoyaltyisLove #sactownkingforever

Cousins, 26, averaged 27.8 points, 10.7 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.3 blocks and 34.4 minutes per game for the Kings this year.

Words can't even express how hard it is for me to have to leave the city of Sacramento and all of the amazing people that I have met while out here. I gave it my all for you and you gave it right back. The most amazing fans on the planet and I just want you to know that your support has meant everything to me. It's hard to believe that it was seven years ago that this young kid from Alabama showed up in Sacramento scared and not knowing a soul. As I look back upon my time here, I wouldn't trade it for anything. I have met so many amazing people, many of whom went out of their way to make me feel right at home from day one. Each and every one of you have played such an important part in my life and helping me become the person I am today. I don't just consider you all as fans, you all are my family...and a couple thousand miles aren't going to change a thing. Thank you Sacramento. #LoyaltyisLove

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on