He didn't say he started smoking weed at 5. What you're taught and what you do are two different things. I was taught not to have sex before I was married. Anyway...
No doubt he was around weed at a young age coming from where he comes from in New Orleans. And I believe what he is saying there. But they don't exactly give the stuff away to youngsters. He's talking about his surroundings and what he learned at an early age.
I didn't say he smoked weed at 5. I just provided the link to the interview.
I'm not going to argue about the first time he got high. I'm just saying that obviously marijuana has been a part of his life for a while, and he was an incredible player with a very unique mentality toward the game of football.
I'm not saying using marijuana caused TM to be the great player that he was. But I am saying it could have been a factor. I don't really know. But, based on my experience, marijuana can give you a different perspective on things and allow you to enter different states of mind that you would not otherwise experience.
I think we can agree that TM had a very unique mental approach to the game. I mean, he was a good athlete, but you can very easily find guys that are bigger, stronger & faster. I'm just allowing for the possibility that cannabis was a part of the equation for Mathieu. To what degree, I have no idea, but he obviously liked it very much.
Maybe like tubucoco said, marijuana calmed him and brought him a sense of relaxation/peace off the field that he would not otherwise have been able to achieve. If that's the case, then the marijuana played a pivotal role in helping TM achieve balance in his life, which IMO is a fairly hard thing to maintain in our world, but very important.
I really don't want to go much deeper into this, obviously there are a number of factors that went into making Mathieu the great player that he was. Work ethic, instincts, physicality, toughness, etc. Again, I'm just allowing for the possibility that marijuana was a part of that equation. I just think it's something interesting to consider.
And, BTW, in assessing the factors that went into Mathieu being such a great player at LSU, I don't think John Chavis gets nearly enough credit. He put TM in a phenomenal position to have success in the defense. I've mentioned it before on this board, in 2009 the Wisconsin Badgers gave unheralded true freshman Chris Borland a similar role in their defense, and he had a very Mathieu-esque season. Season Stats
2009 - Borland - 54 tackles, 10.5 tfls, 5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 1 int
2010 - Mathieu - 57 tackles, 8.5 tfls, 4.5 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 2 ints
Interesting side note on Borland - in 2009 he also returned 6 kickoffs for 106 yards and kicked 3 extra points.
I also want to temper my positive sentiments on marijuana a bit by saying that it affects different people in different ways. We all have a different biochemical makeup. I've seen it have negative effects on people too.