Chicago Sun-Times

Notre Dame's Manti Te'o gathers a crowd at NFL combine

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INDIANAPOLIS - It was the second to last question during a 15-minute press conference for Manti Te'o with hundreds of media members at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Field on Saturday.

"Are you dating anybody in real life?" a reporter asked.

"No. Not right now," the Notre Dame middle linebacker replied.

Less than two minutes later. it was over. The long-awaited Te'o press conference - one that drew a crowd larger than any other previous players in combine history, according to observers -- was finished.

There were plenty of questions about the fake-girlfriend hoax, and how it may affect his draft status. Te'o said every team he's spoken to has asked him about it.

"Some go certain lengths, some just ask me and I give them just a brief overview of how it was and then they just get straight to business about football," Te'o said.

What did they ask?

"Just tell me the facts," Te'o said. "They want to hear it from me."

Te'o, though, doesn't have an indication whether the whole controversy will affect his draft stock. He's still projected to be a late first-round pick. He's met with the Packers and Texans already, and is scheduled to meet with 18 more. The Bears will be included.

"They've told me that they just wanted to hear from me what the truth was and they haven't really said anything about it affecting me," Te'o said. "Whatever team I go to, I'm just going to be me. I'm going to work hard and just do my best to help the team win."

Te'o said he's gotten over the embarrassment of being catfished and isn't overly concerned with how he'll be treated in an NFL locker room because of it. He also said he never thought about taking legal action for being the victim of a hoax

But Te'o was emotional when it came to addressing how everything -- the hoax, the attention, the criticism and so on -- has affected his family.

"It got overwhelming at times," Te'o said. "It's my last name. Everybody here, you treasure you're last name. That's what you hold dear. That's something that when pass down is the only thing that stays with you is your last name, so to see my last name everywhere and to know that I represented my family and all my cousins, my aunts and uncles [was difficult]."

Te'o said he's telling teams he can bring them "a lot of heart."

"I'm just looking forward to getting ready and getting straight to football," Te'o said. "I think I've answered everything I've could."

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Just watched Teo's press conference. Pretty accomplished performance for
the young man.

How fast is he in the 40?

Will he still be on the board when the Bears draft at the 20th position?

Even if the Bears get a chance to draft this guy, I hope they pass. Te'o is obviously not particularly bright, and there seems to me to be no real reason for the Bears to take a chance on him.

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This page contains a single entry by Adam L. Jahns published on February 23, 2013 2:09 PM.

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