Ex-Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o faces media at NFL combine
Indianapolis, IN, United States (4E Sports) – Former Notre Dame star linebacker Manti Te’o spent his first media day at the NFL scouting combine answering questions regarding the girlfriend hoax that put him in a bad light.
After several hours of delay, Te’o bravely faced and gamely answered questions thrown at him by a throng of media, most of them regarding the scandal about a fake girlfriend who died of leukemia.
“It’s definitely embarrassing,” Te’o said. “When you walk into the grocery store and you get people giving double takes and they’re sitting there staring at you, it’s definitely embarrassing.”
Admitting that the scandal was part of the journey, Te’o said it made him stronger as a person.
Recently, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo admitted he was behind an Internet relationship between Te’o and a fabricated woman named Lennay Kekua.
The two allegedly communicated for several months on the Internet but never met in person. Te’o told reporters in September the woman died of leukemia after being in an auto accident.
It became a theme of Te’o's season, ended in a loss to Alabama in the Discover BCS National Championship. Te’o continued to talk about the woman in media interviews after he found out about the hoax in December.
Te’o maintained that he was not a part of the hoax but the victim.
“I could have done things different,” Te’o said. “I think I’ve learned, first, to be honest in everything I do, the big things and the small things.
Te’o was considered a top-five pick but analysts said he could go lower in the first round because of the scandal.
However, the linebacker was not worried about the backlash or being the butt of jokes in an NFL locker room.
“Whatever team I go to, I’m just going to be me and work hard and just going to do my best to help the team win. Whatever happens, happens,” he said.
Broncos vice president John Elway, whose team needs a middle linebacker, said he could take Te’o if he’s available at No. 28.
“I know him as a football player. He’s a very good football player. He’s going to have a successful career in the NFL. I’m looking forward to sitting down and talking to him,” Elway said.