Te’o has been recovering from a foot sprain that he suffered in the preseason opener on August 8, costing him three preseason and three regular season games as a result when the original thought was that he’d only miss a week. Te’o actually returned to practice a week ago but wasn’t 100% and was still held out of last Sunday’s game against the Tennessee Titans. With fellow starting inside linebacker Donald Butler also out with an injury, the Chargers defense was gashed for 170 yards on the ground with special teamers Reggie Walker and Bront Bird starting in their spots.
Te’o and Butler, who’s also expected to return Sunday, should be a huge upgrade in stopping the run and will need to be. Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray is coming off a game in which he ran for 175 yards and a touchdown.
Te’o will certainly have a little more pressure than your average rookie. The last time he stepped onto the field for a meaningful game was the BCS National Championship game, in which he was far less than stellar.
But having the extra time to heal and learn the game could’ve been a blessing in disguise for him. If he played in the nationally televised Monday night season opener against the Houston Texans and didn’t play well, the media would’ve been all over him. Heading into Week 4 of the NFL season, the media has nearly forgotten Te’o is even in the league, and now, he can concentrate on playing his best without worrying as much about what the media has to say about him.