LSU began taking steps this summer to dim the national spotlight on its most captivating star, Tyrann Mathieu, and downplayed ''The Honey Badger'' phenomenon that it so willingly promoted a season ago.
Mathieu, a 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist, was excluded from the LSU delegation at the Southeastern Conference's annual football media days in July.
Then, during the first nine days after the Tigers reported for August camp, coach Les Miles made Mathieu available only once, on LSU's media day last Tuesday, when every player is permitted to speak to reporters.
That turned out to be Mathieu's last chance to address the media in his white, purple and gold No. 7 LSU jersey.
On Friday, Mathieu was dismissed from LSU's football team for breaking an athletic department rule, a blow to the Tigers' national championship hopes three weeks before their season opener.
Miles knew from experience that Mathieu, despite his passion for football that energized teammates and coaches alike, was nonet...