It hasn’t been the textbook path for a rookie to take as he enters the NFL, but Manti Te’o has been going about his business in the right way this spring. Even though the main topic of conversation has been whether or not the San Diego Chargers should be placing a media blackout on Te’o during his time spent at OTAs, the Bolts’ veterans don’t seem to mind the special treatment. It may not be a stretch to say that the team has gained even more respect for Te’o with the way he has handled himself during an adverse set of circumstances.
According to an interview with SiriusXM NFL Radio, Bolts fullback Le’Ron McClain feels like Te’o is adjusting well to life in the league. McClain said:
“I don’t think there will be anything like hazing. The guy came in, and he’s been working since he stepped on the field, stepped in the weight room. He’s caught everybody’s eye to see that he’s a great player. The sky’s the limit for him. I’m looking forward to seeing him on Sundays.”
From the butt of the joke to the golden boy, Te’o has experienced quite the spectrum of commentary during his short offseason pursuit of an NFL dream. The former Notre Dame All-American was thought of as a potential top 10 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft until the storm hit with his fake girlfriend saga. Not even that adversity seems to have fazed the Bolts’ second round pick who seems destined for a starting gig at inside linebacker from week one.
While the idea of hiding Te’o from the media may not be the most popular amongst those in the sports talk world, it could be just the right thing for the linebacker to switch the focus over to his on-field performance. His nose to the grindstone mentality has been evident since the NFL Scouting Combine when Te’o responded to a question about what the whole fake girlfriend ordeal has taught him. The Chargers linebacker said:
“I think I’ve learned the difference between the things I can control and the things I can’t control. And hopefully by doing the things I can control, I’ll have more favor in the other category. Whatever team I go to, I’m just going to be me, I’m going to work hard, and I’m going to do my best to help the team win. And whatever happens, happens.”
It’s easy to understand why an attitude like that will endear a player to a locker room full of veterans. The Chargers are going to love what Te’o brings to their defense on the field, and everyone is going to feel a little bit foolish for ridiculing the team’s media blackout once the rookie makes his first tackle in week one.