Mathieu said he knows he'll face direct, hard questions from NFL teams about his checkered past. He's being counseled by NFL cornerbacks Darrelle Revis, Morris Claiborne, Patrick Peterson and Corey Webster.

"My best friend right now is honesty," Mathieu said. "I want to be as open as possible because I'm trying to rebuild people's trust, and I want those guys to be able to trust me, and I hold myself accountable.

San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh doesn't tolerate any player who lies in an interview. Once that happens, a prospect is usually removed from the draft board.

NFL teams and league security perform extensive background checks, so they have all the information about a player's past before they sit down with them for a meeting.

"Somebody that's not truthful, that's big, to me," Harbaugh said. "I'm a big fan of the Judge Judy show. And when you lie in Judge Judy's courtroom, it's over. Your credibility is completely lost. You have no chance of winning that case. So, I learned that from her.

"It's very powerful, and true. Because if somebody does lie to you, how can you ever trust anything they ever say after that? Ronald Reagan, another person of great wisdom and advice: 'Trust but we will verify.'"

That's what NFL teams are trying to do with players like Mathieu and Ogletree.

Ogletree was considered a high first-round talent as a speedy converted safety who makes impactful plays. His arrest for a DUI followed being suspended for four games last season for failing a drug test, and being charged three years ago with stealing a Georgia track athlete's motorcycle helmet.

Ogletree said he had combine meetings with the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs. He declined to elaborate on the conversations, citing privacy reasons.

"I'm a good person at heart," Ogletree said. "Everybody makes mistakes. I feel real bad about the situation. I'm learning from it and I'm moving forward."

Mayock characterized Ogletree as an elite athlete, but urged caution given how often the linebacker has made bad decisions.

"You have to be careful with Ogletree," Mayock said. "He's a top-10 talent physically, but where he is with positive drug tests, DUIs and all of the rest I have to figure out."

What was Mathieu thinking? How did he hit rock bottom after being the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year?

“I think half of it is you actually start believing the hype,” Mathieu said. “You actually start believing the newspaper clippings and the other half is, 'Hey, I’m young and I want to have some fun.' At the end of the day, I have to be a different kind of person.”

“I know what it’s like to be humiliated. To go back down that road, there’s not a chance in the world, not a chance in my lifetime. I’m not saying I’m totally there. However, I am taking strides every day to be the best person that Tyrann can be.”

The worst moment for Mathieu? His arrest in October.

"I thought my bottom was when I got kicked out of school," Mathieu said. "I think when I got arrested in October, that was a different bottom. So I decided to go to rehab. But this time, rehab was for Tyrann. I just wasted going to do it for publicity or because my school told me to go. I actually wanted to get my problem corrected."

Both Mathieu and Ogletree have to figure out how to not repeat their collegiate mistakes once they're in the NFL.

Although Mathieu is still sporting his trademark blond Mohawk hairstyle, he no longer wants to be associated with his catchy nickname.

"If the Honey Badger sticks, it sticks," Mathieu said, "but, right now, I'm focused on being Tyrann Mathieu."

End zone

The Ravens conducted a meeting with former West Virginia and Dunbar star Tavon Austin at the combine, according to a league source.

The wide receiver ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds and is projected as a first-round draft pick.

awilson@baltsun.com

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