Former LSU and NFL star center Kevin Mawae said Wednesday that he thinks the recent suspension of quarterback Anthony Jennings — and three other players — opens the door for other players, particularly backup quarterback Brandon Harris.
“Deep down inside as a competitor you’re like, ‘This is my chance to go out and light it up.’ If (Harris) doesn’t go out and take advantage of this opportunity then shame on him,” Mawae said on “Culotta & The Prince” on 104.5/104.9 FM ESPN in Baton Rouge.
Jennings, cornerback Dwayne Thomas and defensive lineman Maquedius Bain were arrested last week and booked on unauthorized entry into an inhabited dwelling, police records show. Thomas was also booked on simple burglary. Defensive tackle Trey Lealaimatafao was arrested and booked on simple battery and simple robbery, a felony.
The arrests of Jennings, Thomas and Bain stem from an event June 12. The three players and at least three more males entered a West Campus Apartment and broke into a bedroom, removing items from the room, a police report says. They did so with the presumed intent to retrieve items said to have been stolen from Jennings’ apartment on June 10 — a MacBook Air, three pairs of shoes and a PlayStation 4.
“I understand the story behind it, and I get it,” Mawae said. “You’re looking for your stuff that somebody stole from you...You just don’t do that. You know that no matter what happens it’s not going to be a positive situation for you or the program.”
Having the starting quarterback involved in an off-the-field issue, he said, complicates matters.
“It’s huge. He’s the leader of the team,” he said. “He’s the one that’s supposed to be setting the example. So when it is your quarterback it makes it even more difficult.”
Lealaimatafao, a redshirt freshman from Texas, dug through the pockets of an unnamed male victim after the victim had been beaten unconscious by “uknown suspects” in the parking lot of Reggie’s bar last week, police records show. Lealaimatafao then punched the victim’s girlfriend in the face with a closed fist when she interfered, police records show.
“The third time down in Tigerland? Now we’ve got some issues. It’s strike three. Something’s got to happen,” Mawae said.
The former president of the NFL Players Association, Mawae offered this piece of advice to athletes who struggle to stay out of trouble during the spring and summer downtime.
“If everybody’s telling you ‘yes,’ they’re the wrong people to be hanging out with. You need some ‘no’ people in your life,” he said.]