In the past few months, former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has been the butt of everyone’s jokes and to his credit he’s handled well. Unfortunately for Te’o, the jokes maybe just starting and he may have to endure a few more years of the ribbing before it all goes away.
Houston Texans defensive end Antonio Smith told Pro Football Talk on the NBC Sports Network that if Manti Te’o was drafted by the Texans, he’d better be prepared for the team laughing at his expense.
“Our locker room is full of clowns and, oh, man people would kill him. I mean he would be the butt of every joke for at least two, three years,” Smith said.
It may sound harsh to hear but that’s the reality of the situation for Te’o now. No matter what team drafts him he’s going to be on the short end of the team’s jokes and he should probably prepare himself for that. The NFL locker room is a place for jokes and fun, and much like any group of male friends, part of fitting into that group involves making fun of each other to some degree. The difference is that Te’o is behind the eight ball already and players already have the ammunition to poke fun at him.
Perhaps Smith is a little too obvious about the situation but he speaks the truth. The Te’o jokes can be considered a form of hazing, which the league strongly discourages but it can take on many forms for an NFL player. It can mean taking a team out for an expensive dinner or being dumped into an ice bath, but more likely than not, a young player pays his dues in some form. It looks like Te’o will be hazed by the jokes made at his expense.
The jokes aren’t likely to stop anytime soon for Te’o, no matter where he gets drafted, and the best thing he can do to stop it all is to play well on Sunday’s. Do that, and people will find something else to talk about when it comes to Manti Te’o.
you can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi