Press conference over, Te’o now has to prove he can play


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.

25 responses to “Press conference over, Te’o now has to prove he can play

  1. Te’o’s career is over.
    Somewhere along the line, Te’o decided he wanted to be a celebrity instead of a professional football player.
    Wish granted.
    Te’o is now a cross between Tim Tebow and a Kardashian.
    Career over.

  2. Mike Florio (from previous post): “With all due respect to Bill Polian, running 40 yards in a straight line in underwear doesn’t really tell anyone much about what a football player can do under ordinary football circumstances.”

    Darin Gantt: “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.”

    A little bit of PFT-on-PFT crime? Which one is it?

  3. Alec Ogletree gets a DUI and no one cares… where is his press conference? Te’o has a fake girlfriend, and he has to convince everyone that he’s not a horrible person. Am I missing something here?

  4. It’s a silly head-line: He was the leader in more ways than one on an undefeated team from one of the most prestigious programs in college football history.

  5. Yorklitoris1, what you are missing is psychological issues that could get worse. It’s all ridiculous what he did. Normal thinking people don’t do what he did. You want to spend millions on this guy? Maybe that’s why you are not a GM.

  6. This guy was the leader of a top defense that had to pick up the slack for a young QB and offense all year long. Te’o had an incredible career, besides all the BS at the end.

    He didn’t have 7 interceptions and finish 2nd in the Heisman because he was an ‘average’ player. He had a phenomenal year and some team is going to end up getting a damn good football player.

  7. “Sorry, about not asking many questions about your acting career, Mr. Booth, but this Lincoln business is more newsworthy.”

  8. I watched a part of his Q/A and T’eo is one cool customer and handles the media very well.

    Having said, I also conclude that he is one BeeEsser Extraordinaire.

  9. People can’t get caught up with all these 40 times and who jumps the highest, as a Eagle fan, one name comes to mind, Mike Mamula! The king of the combine! He was so good there that we traded up to take him over Warren Sapp, how did that turn out? Teo, can play! Doesn’t matter what his 40 time is, and you can forget that last ge he played, you can’t judge a player off of one game, overall, the guy was a Heisman finalist for a reason

  10. I don’t see the big deal regarding what he did in a football perspective. If he lies about a girlfriend, it’s not a crime. He doesn’t go to jail, and he doesn’t get suspended. However, if someone fails drug tests, gets DUI’s, or is caught with PED’s, it seems as though people don’t care as much. Leave the guy alone. Let’s judge him on his play. The only people that should be getting this type of criticism that he got are the Olec Ogletree’s of this draft class….

  11. Teo reminds me of a poor mans AJ Hawk. He’ll be somewhat solid, overpaid, never make impact plays, and play for about 10 years at a level that’s just high enough to keep him on the roster.

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