Te’o feared another hoax on draft day
You have to feel bad for Manti Te’o. Fresh off the controversy surrounding his fake girlfriend, there was doubt as to how many NFL teams would be interested in drafting him. Well, Te’o made it through the NFL Combine and was drafted in the second round by the San Diego Chargers. However the celebration did not kick off too quickly for Te’o; in fact, it didn’t really kick off at all.
Rather than soak in the moment he was drafted with his family, Te’o initially became suspicious thinking that the call could be his friends were trying to prank him since the number was a California number. The man who allegedly pretended to be Te’o’s girlfriend, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, lived in California.
After what happened over the winter, Te’o has good reason to take what he hears with a grain of salt, but this time his paranoia seems to have got the best of him. At least Te’o can rest easy knowing that he is officially going to be a part of an NFL team.
The one-time expected first rounder might have been disappointed to go in the second round, but Te’o said he sees it as a motivation to exceed expectations rather than as a detriment to his success.
“I don’t know if I have something to prove, but it definitely puts a huge fire under my butt to just be better,” Te’o said. “Again, that’s the best thing that ever could happen to me. I’m already naturally a motivated person who just wants to be the best. All yesterday did was just give me more motivation and more fire to just go out there and play football and do well at it.”
Some NFL coaches passed on Te’o because of his controversy off the field. The Chargers were willing to look past that though, focusing on filling a need as best they could rather than be swept up in the media. General Manager Tom Telesco was adamant about the fact that it was a business decision, not one drawn in by the media.
“We did our due diligence,” Telesco said. “All that stuff is not a concern to us. So we’re just really, really excited to get him here. He took that Notre Dame program and kind of raised the talent level of the whole program. He was the undisputed leader there. We saw that.”
All the fears of being duped again aside, Te’o is ecstatic to be where he is. He said considers playing for the Chargers to be a perfect scenario.