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Clubhouse Viral NFL

According to Sales, Manti Te’o is the Most Popular Rookie in the NFL

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Manti Te’o may have had a fake girlfriend, but he has real fans and lots of them.

According to an article on USA Today, Teo’s No. 50 San Diego Chargers jersey is the top-selling rookie jersey right now ahead of Tavon Austin and E.J. Manuel among others.

It shouldn’t surprise people that Te’o’s jersey is a top-seller. He was a phenomenal player in college, truly revitalizing a Notre Dame team and frankly bringing them back to relevancy as well. His story, while it may have been a little contrived, touched the hearts of fans everywhere.

For a while, everybody was all about Te’o.

Then the truth came out about Te’o’s fake girlfriend, thus beginning a period of time that everyone talked about Te’o, but for a different reason. Anybody in the country that had never heard of the word “catfish”, likely increased their vocabulary during the long and drawn out story about how Te’o’s girlfriend never really existed.

The story reached incredible heights and led to suspicions as well. At first, many were against Te’o claiming that he orchestrated or at least knew about the scandal far before he reported it. Then, he went on Katie Couric’s show for an exclusive interview and went all around the country; people got to finally hear his side of the story.

Finally, after all of this national attention, which led to everyone knowing the name of Manti Te’o, the football aspect, which people probably forgot all about, came back into play. He was evaluated by scouts and at the combine and underperformed to be frank.

So he dropped to the second round and ended up going No. 38 overall to the Chargers.

But like I said, many casual fans who probably have no idea who of Manuel or Austin or Eddie Lacy among others, know who Te’o is. They know that because of the scandal, which brought with it so many endless memes and punchlines, was everywhere. From late-night talk shows, the news, being plastered online, even if you didn’t want to know, you probably found out anyway.

That of course is going to bring fans and as it turns out, fans that really want to represent Te’o.

And if Te’o’s instant fame is in question, let’s just keep in perspective, Te’o is a linebacker. How often do you find someone wanting to wear the jersey of a linebacker?

Marilee Gallagher is a baseball writer for RantSports.com. You can follow her on Twitter @MGallagher17 like her page on Facebook, or join her network on Google.