With his college controversy slowly fading into the rearview mirror, Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o is beginning the climb back toward respect.
Teaching a teammate a potentially life-saving skill is another step in that process.
Over the summer, Te’o taught Chargers right tackle D.J. Fluker how to swim, after noticing him standing in the shallow end of the pool while he was swimming laps for a workout.
Fluker hadn’t been deeper since he was 4, and his mom plucked him out of the bottom of a pool he accidentally fell into.
“I was terrified of water,” Fluker said, via Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego. “He was like, ‘Man, relax. I got you.’ ”
So Te’o held up his mammoth teammate in the water and began giving him lessons, eventually getting him to the point of not sinking.
“He said, ‘All right, I’m going to let you go,’ ” Fluker said. “I’m like, ‘Let me go? No, no, no, no, no.’ I just sank.”
“His head was still above the water,” Te’o said. “He just wasn’t as flat as he should have been.”
Keeping his own head above water to this point has been a challenge for Te’o, but he seems to be integrating himself well in the Chargers’ locker room.