When Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o’s name appeared on the list of players to be featured on Jon Gruden’s pre-draft series that ordinarily focuses on quarterbacks, many envisioned Gruden’s Chucky persona grilling Te’o regarding the saga of his fake dead male girlfriend.
But Gruden steered clear of that situation during the 30-minute show, making only indirect reference to it before bringing in former Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks to advise Te’o on how to handle the veterans in an NFL locker room.
“You just gotta be ready to deal with it,” Brooks said. “And don’t be afraid, man, to make light of yourself. That’s the icebreaker in every locker room. You’ve got to be able to make fun of yourself. You’ve got to.”
When it comes to football, Gruden harped on the read-option play, explaining to Te’o that the middle linebacker has to diagnose the “symptoms of the zone read,” and urging him to “be on a mission . . . finding the ball, solving the problems, and being relentless, man, just like you were at Notre Dame.”
Defensive players throughout the league will be applying that approach to the read option in 2013, and Te’o surely will prefer dealing with the NFL’s newest version of on-field catfishing.