Tyrann Mathieu walks arm-in-arm with Les Miles during the Mathieu Charity Kickball game in Metairie on Saturday.

Les Miles fit right in wearing purple and gold.

The former LSU coach, now in his first year at Kansas, donned a purple baseball cap with gold lettering, a purple jersey featuring a gold logo, white shorts instead of a white windbreaker and white sneakers, as well as knee-high purple socks.

It was the uniform of the day Saturday as Miles participated in Tyrann Mathieu’s second annual Kickball Classic at the Shrine on Airline.

“My ties run pretty deep here,” said Miles, who became the second-winningest coach in LSU history before being fired four games into his 12th season in 2016. “It’s not unusual to see me in purple.

“I’m here for Tyrann. He’s doing a great job giving back to the community. I’m proud to be a part of it.”

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Mathieu, getting ready for his seventh NFL season and first with the Kansas City Chiefs, adopted the colors of the Tigers as well as his alma mater, St. Augustine High School, for this event and the Tyrann Mathieu Foundation.

He said he’s eager to practice against the Chiefs’ high-scoring offense and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the NFL MVP last season, for the first time during offseason workouts next week.

“The Chiefs have a great locker room, a great group of talent, a lot of young guys,” Mathieu said. “They’ve got a heck of a quarterback, which always makes things easier.”

Mathieu called LSU’s 10-3 record in coach Ed Orgeron’s second full season last year “a positive step in the right direction for the program.”

“I think coach O is doing a great job,” Mathieu said. “Les Miles set a really high standard, especially recruiting great talent, a lot of first-round picks, a lot of household names. I think coach O has got a few of those guys on his team as well.

“I’m always going to support LSU. I really think coach O is doing it the right way.”

Other LSU football alumni on hand for Saturday’s charity event were Arizona Cardinals defensive back Patrick Peterson and New York Giants wide receiver Russell Shepard.

The NFL announced this week that Peterson, one of the Tigers’ most decorated defensive players ever and an eight-time Pro Bowler, has been suspended for the first six games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’m definitely disappointed in something of that nature and having my name attached to it,” Peterson said before joining Mathieu on the Gold team. “I’ve got to move forward from it. It’s out now. I own up to it. At the end of the day, there’s nothing we can do now. We can’t dwell on it. We can’t relive the past.

“As a father and as a husband, you have to learn to roll with the punches and put it behind you. I thank my family, my teammates, the organization for supporting me and being behind me. Now we can put this thing behind us and I look forward to returning for Week 7 against the Giants.”

One week after Peterson’s return, he and his teammates will face the New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

“I love playing that stadium — just the excitement, the crowd,” Peterson said. “It just reminds me of Death Valley a lot — just how crazy and how loud it can be in there.”

Miles will be back in Louisiana even sooner for his induction into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in Natchitoches next month.

“I was thrilled to be nominated,” Miles said. “There are so many people on the perimeter of what I was doing that helped me be successful. I have a lot of thank-yous. We had great players and coaches. I was just the head coach.”

Now he’s the head coach of the Jayhawks, who were 3-9 and 1-8 in the Big 12 Conference last season. But Miles expects his first Kansas team to be much better than that.

“The expectations are that we will win and not be bashful to tell people that our view is winning football,” Miles said. “We’ve got some good players. There’s some good news.

“The team that we took to the field with in the spring was really good. You’ll have to be a very fine football team to beat us.”

Miles said the biggest challenge is changing “the culture” around a program that hasn’t won more than three games in any of the past nine seasons.

“If the culture flips, if they become successful,” Miles said, “the thing can take off.”

Miles’ role Saturday was limited to rolling out a ceremonial first pitch to Mathieu, whom he coached from 2010-11 before Mathieu was dismissed from the LSU program in 2012 for failing multiple drug tests.

“I’m so happy with where he’s at,” Miles said of Mathieu. “He’s a family man. He’s somebody who’s going to be big in the community in terms of giving back. In my mind he’s doing everything exactly right.”

Miles, 65, is eager to get back on a football sideline after missing nearly three full seasons.

“It’s exactly what I wanted to do,” he said. “I knew it wasn’t going to work, me not doing football. I enjoy taking a team to the field, watching them improve and watching them play. It’s what I do.”


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