For Manti Te’o, the rookie hazing begins today. The jokes regarding the fake girlfriend hoax begins today. And the respect he will eventually earn with the San Diego Chargers starts developing today.
Today, the veterans join the rookies for the first time this offseason in the organized team activities. Te’o, along with the other rookies, has already been participating in the team’s rookie mini-camp for the past three days. But today, we see how Te’o meshes with his new veteran teammates and how mentally tough he is.
Can be handle the difficulties of learning an NFL playbook while being reminded of the girlfriend hoax that tainted his once-gleaming reputation?
Like he prepares himself to play a game, he’s prepared for whatever his teammates throw at him. So far, Te’o appears mentally ready to take on the challenge.
When asked about what kind of reception he thinks he’ll receive from the players, Te’o mapped out his plan to win over his teammates.
“You’ve just got to keep your head down,” Te’o said, according to U-T San Diego. “Know you’re a rookie. Keep your head down; keep your head in the playbook. Work hard. Show that you really care about what you’re doing, about your job. Obviously, you’ve got to earn the respect of the veterans. That will come in time, I’m sure. But with what I’m going to do and with my work ethic, that will come soon.”
I’ve mentioned before that this is exactly what Te’o needs to do to be earn respect, and Te’o appears on track to doing just that. Te’o’s superb work ethic has prepared him not only to be ready to learn how to play in this league, but also to win over his teammates in his unique situation.
If Te’o keeps to his word, he’ll earn the respect he deserves and become a leader in San Diego in no time. Soon, everyone will forget about the girlfriend hoax and see him as the great player and person he is.