The circus now over, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o is going to get a chance to do something much harder than holding a press conference.
He’s going to have to convince teams at the NFL Scouting Combine that he deserves a job based on his play on the field.
You can read the full transcript of the interview, in all its prurient glory, here.
While there were some hand grenades lobbed his way — such as when he was asked if he was “dating anybody in real life,” to which he replied: “No, not right now” — Te’o was clearly schooled up to answer questions calmly and evenly. For what it’s worth, it shows a coachability that teams are going to like.
But teams are also going to try to shake him, before they invest in him, asking things that would probably make self-respecting reporters blush.
But the most important part of his future will come after all the stories are field and television cameras are packed away.
While he was a productive player throughout his college career, there are legitimate questions about his mobility. His 40-yard dash will be important, as a time in the 4.6-second range will make a lot of doubts go away. Run in the 4.8s, and there will be legitimate concerns about his ability to play in coverage.
He was initially projected as a late-first round prospect, among the top two or three inside linebacker prospects in the draft.
Whether that holds up after his on-field drills Monday will be more meaningful to his football future than an embarrassing personal story.
Te’o mentioned having meetings with the Texans and Packers, among 20 formal interviews he had scheduled.
The other 12 might have decided that the distractions he’d bring aren’t worth it for a two-down linebacker.