Manti Te’o trying to fill leader role vacated by Eric Weddle

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The Chargers defense has undergone some changes since the end of last season, including the departure of safety Eric Weddle after nine seasons with the team.

Weddle’s departure opens a hole in the secondary and it opens a hole in the team’s leadership as Weddle had been an experienced and esteemed member of the unit. During an appearance on Sirius XM NFL Radio with Zig Fracassi and former Chargers linebackers coach Mike Nolan, Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o said that “there’s no way to replace” a player like Weddle but that someone still has to step up “to be the voice of the defense.”

Te’o says he is the right man for that job.

“I think, collectively, we’ve done a great job,” Te’o said. “Me, myself, I’ve kind of taken over that responsibility of being that voice. Talking to Coach Nolan, I kind of had that opportunity last year and having Coach Nolan by my side to help me and mentor me … He had a whole bunch of successful linebackers that he got to coach and so for me to learn from him how to be a leader and just how to be me and consistently be me really helped me out a lot, so I kind of took over those reins.”

There are a couple of defensive players who have been with the Chargers longer than Te’o and veterans like Brandon Mebane and Brandon Flowers that have had longer careers with multiple teams, but Te’o was the defensive signal caller last season and that’s a role that lends itself to a leadership one as well. With his contract up after the season, doing both of those jobs well while also thriving on the field could lead to the kind of stay that Weddle enjoyed in San Diego.

15 responses to “Manti Te’o trying to fill leader role vacated by Eric Weddle

  1. Maybe Manti can get leadership tips from his imaginary girlfriend.

  2. Honestly San Diego could win a Super Bowl and this dude could be defensive player of the year, on his way to a Super Bowl MVP and he’d still be known as the player with a fake girlfriend.

  3. How can you have respect for someone who had an imaginary girlfriend then covered it up when he found out it was a fake. On top of that, it was only imaginary that he played in the NC game against Alabama. So much hype for someone who is an average player and less than average human being.

  4. Wow. Some people get hung up on one thing and they stay hung up on that one thing for the rest of their lives.

    I guess those personality types prefer to stay in the shallow end of the life pool?

  5. factschecker

    I agree 1000% with you….people these days let the media brain wash them….we’ve all done stupider/worse things than he did….espn nd the other “Big times” will blow it out of proportion…follow the $$

  6. I have no problem with Manti’s past but do have a leadership tip to share.
    Leaders don’t have to make announcements that they are leaders.
    Unless of course you’re working for the Cowboys…

  7. Cmon people to say that people are living in the shallow end of the life pool? This guy received sympathy throughout the season for losing his GF to cancer. Notre Dame let him receive extra press coverage and he did interviews on how he found the strength to finish the season including the NC game. Brent Musburger calling him a hero or enduring so much and still playing hard for his team mates! He never even met her! He talked only on the phone to some guy pretending to be his GF! Teo is either the dumbest guy living or he knew exactly what he was doing to get the publicity! Either way its despicable!

  8. whenwilliteverend

    I struggle to understand how having or not having an imaginary girlfriend would affect your respect for someone. It would appear that you need to re-calibrate your delimiting factors for respect.

    One would respect Ray Lewis right, because he was a great player and a very good leader. But we all know the history and why he is a questionable role model for the youth.

    If someone did something that had no negative affects on you, why would that skew your respect for them at all? How would your life be if you were defined by your most embarassing moment?

    Remember that time when whenwilliteverend peed his pants in 3rd grade? He is probably still peeing his pants today. In fact he will always be a pants pisser and I just cant respect someone who pees their pants.

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