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Will Manti Te’o’s Decision Not to Bench Press at Combine Hurt Him?

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

Yesterday, University of Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o spoke to a mass media for the first time since the revelation of his nonexistent girlfriend. Te’o seemed to handle himself fairly well during the 15-minute press conference, and appeared to have left a good impression for NFL teams.

On the heels of the All-American’s biggest media circus of his playing career, it has been reported that Te’o won’t participate in the bench press portion of the NFL Scouting Combine due to a stinger in his right shoulder that he is rehabbing.

Te’o should participate in everything else on Monday when he and the other linebacking prospects display their talents to the NFL scouts.

With all of the off-the-field things that Te’o has had to deal with, and the disappointing game that he had during the BCS National Championship game, the Heisman Trophy runner-up surely doesn’t need any more negative attention drawn his way. Personally, I don’t think that not participating in the bench press will hurt him. The bench-pressing portion of the combine is more important for offensive and defensive linemen.

Te’o’s 40-yard dash time, shuttle drill and coverage skills will be the things that scouts will dissect the most. However, the most significant thing during this process will be the interviews that Te’o will have with the reported 20 teams that will talk with him.

Hopefully, for his sake, no one will come away with the assumption that Te’o is soft for not attempting to bench 225 pounds with a bum shoulder. We’ll just have to wait and see what tomorrow brings for Te’o.

Clyde A. Speller  is an NFL writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @ClydeASpeller, or add him to your network on Google