Seahawks Insider

The Manti Te’o experience

Post by Eric Williams on Feb. 23, 2013 at 1:11 pm with 36 Comments »
February 23, 2013 1:58 pm
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o answers a question during a news conference at the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis, Saturday, Feb. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

A fatigued but contrite Manti Te’o talked for roughly 20 minutes with hundreds of reporters here at the NFL Scouting Combine, the first time he’s talked with a full media group since a report surfaced on Jan. 16 that the death of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was a hoax.

“It was just a whirlwind for stuff for me, a 22-year-old – 21 at the time – just trying to get your thoughts right,” Te’o said, when asked why he waited so long to publically address the situation. “Everything was kind of chaos for a little bit, so you let that chaos kind of die down. And wait until everybody’s ready to listen.”

Te’o said he’s met with two teams so far, the Texans and the Packers, and he’s scheduled to meet formally with 18 more at the combine. Te’o said all the teams that have contacted him so far have asked by the incident.

And what are they asking?

“Just tell me the facts,” Te’o said. “They want to hear it from me basically what happened.”

photo (29)

Te’o said he’s not concerned with how the incident will affect his relationship with players in an NFL locker room, or his ability to assume a leadership role as a middle linebacker and quarterback of the defense.

“No, I’ve learned the difference between the things that I can control, and the things I can’t control,” he said. “And hopefully by doing the things I can control well, I’ll have more favor in the other category. Whatever team I do go to, I’m just going to be me and work hard.”

And he said the hardest part of dealing with the aftermath of the reports is his family dealing with photographers camping out in front of their home.

“The toughest moment to be honest with you was a phone call that I got from my sister when she told me that they had to sneak my family into my own home because there were people parked out in the yard and stuff like that,” Te’o said. “That had to be the hardest part. And for me, something that I’ve always had a problem with is when I can’t do something about it. And I can’t help. So to know that my family was in that situation because of the actions I committed was definitely the hardest part.”

Te’o also lamented the staining of his family name.

“You treasure your last name,” he said. “That’s what you hold dear. That’s something that when you pass on, the only thing that stays here is your last name.”

He called the incident embarrassing, but also something he’s come to terms with.

“It’s definitely embarrassing,” Te’o said. “You’re walking though a grocery story, and you’re kind of giving people double takes to see if they’re staring at you. It’s definitely embarrassing. It’s I guess part of the process, part of the journey. It’s only going to make me strong, and it definitely has.”

Scouting combine
Leave a comment Comments → 36
  1. Dukeshire says:

    There’s a part of me that really feels for this kid. I can’t imagine how embarrassed he must have, and apparently still does, feel. But there’s another part of me that doesn’t understand how someone could be taken in, in this way and “fall in love” with someone they’ve never met. It extends beyond simple naivety, to me. I’m curious how he’ll handle the sharks that swim and circle professional athletes looking to steal and swindle their money. Because they’re out there just preying on someone like this. And to me, that’s a huge issue for an NFL GM to consider. If he comes out of this far a more guarded and critical thinking person, that will be a good thing and serve him well.

  2. Dukeshire says:

    Eric, would you be able to post a list of the pro days Seattle representitives will be attending, after the combine? (Presuming you’re privy to it or can ask for it.)

  3. GeorgiaHawk says:

    The sharks swim and circle around good football prospects before they even get to College.
    Sad that as short of a career that NFL players have compared to other pro sports they are forced to prostitute their talent for longer in College.

  4. CDHawkFan says:

    I’m not Al Davis (and not dead) but the speed guys in the OL and TE drills were impressive. The Gragg guy looks like a beast, and maybe a mid round guy. Did have an injury last year, but don’t they all at some point.

  5. Dukeshire says:

    It’s not sad, its reasonable. An 18 or 19 year old against say, Clay Matthews or Kam Chancellor…? and of course people / players develop physically at different rates, but the NFL’s rules regarding eligibility to play in the league is one of pure safety. This isn’t baseball.

    And that’s my point about the “sharks” etc…, if he could be duped by some hayseed nar-do-well, imagine what might happen if he runs into professionals.

  6. Dukeshire says:

    And for the record, I wish that on no one.

  7. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Really, how about their safety in College? Who’s protecting them there. LOl.

  8. I don’t see him as good as all the hype – They didn’t play an awfully great schedule and he really struggled in the championship game. I think he is good but not great. if he gets drafted by a team where he is going to be “the guy” he will struggle. If he goes to a solid Defense – say Baltimore I think he will fit in fine but IMO will never be that Ray Lewis, Brian Urlacher type guy

  9. Dukeshire says:

    For one thing, players that aren’t physically ready to compete at a D1 level have options, like DII, NAIA, or even Jr College. Moreover, I find it hard to believe you fail to see the difference between a college freshman playing against other college players and a college freshman aged player going against NFL players. Pete Carroll recently spoke about the disparity in physical ability between college and NFL players (should you choose to not believe me).

  10. CDHawkFan says:

    These guys have access to a lot of good people and systems as well. I’ve heard about the class tutors, special study rooms, TA verbally giving them tests, research on past notes and test done for them, and for some, 5 years to finish a free degree. For every bad guy they meet, there is probably 5 good people willing to help them just because they play football.

    This guy is a bit off, instead of sleeping with half the campus as a loy of jocks do, he decided to have a very weird long distance relationship with someone he never meet. That’s just not normal, especially for a kid that could have it all including a group around him that wouldn’t have let this happen.

    That aside, the few times I saw him play I wasn’t impressed. I can’t believe the first round projections, and he looks small.

  11. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Again, How about their safety in College? Who’s protecting them there?

    Why can’t the market decide who plays and who doesn’t? Like the free world.
    Sure many can’t play at an NFL level their first year in College, however some can, and more can their second year of College. Why should the mass decide for the few?

  12. Dukeshire says:

    Yes, Goddell really ought to loosen the the strings on player safety…

    The NFL is a private enterprise. And in all such businesses, the few make the rules for “the masses”.

    This is nearly as silly as the “Wilson has an identical build as Lynch” conversation.

  13. The HS to NBA players with 2 maybe 3 exceptions have killed the level of play in the NBA! IMO of course

  14. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Here is a good article about this-

    “This is nearly as silly as the “Wilson has an identical build as Lynch” conversation.

    Lol. So silly that you choose to waste your time with?

    Or so silly like your constant Wilson bashing from the time he was drafted until it was time you would look like a fool to go against him?

    Lol- I just went against my new rule not to argue after happy hour.

    All in good fun.

  15. Dukeshire says:

    I said the day he was drafted that I would gladly admit if I was wrong about him. I made that admission several times and yet you consider me a fool for doing so.

    “Constant Wilson bashing…” I to find examples of this. Constant…

  16. About 40 years ago, a close friend told me a story of something very similar to Te’o that happened to him when he was in college. In his case he was writing checks and buying clothes for a woman who he’d only met over the phone and who was scamming him by pretending to be someone else (it was a very complex and clever scam.) He was just rescued from it by his Dad, a doctor, who had heard about the same scam in his work with psychiatrists. So Te’o’s story is not impossible.

    College is also a very weird time. There are probably a number of reasonable theories why Te’o wasn’t out being the BMOC: Shyness, cultural background expectations, sexual orientation, are a few, and the story may have been a cover for something else. Unfortunately for him, I don’t think this story will go away. Someone from the National Enquirer or the Star is going to be picking at the scabs, and this is a liability for him and for the team that picks him. His best hope is a major fall from grace in the draft (4th round?) to the point where no one cares about the story anymore, and then to pull a Richard Sherman and be All-Pro in his second year. He will have paid the price and be given the second chance based on his performance. I don’t think we need him on the Hawks, but I wish him well.

  17. GeorgiaHawk says:

    Dukeshire- I will give you the beneifit of the doubt if you will do a song parody about Leroy Hill with the Steely Dan song, “go back jack and do it again”. I will never do a song parody again here if you do this.
    I don’t think you will though because I think you secretly love them.

  18. You must remember that Everyone who said they would start Flynn is therefore a Wilson basher- never mind the fact that a VAST majority of the “Flynn” people liked Wilson but were just worried about him being a rookie

  19. The stupid thing about the whole Te’o story is the fact that it really is a stupid story that should just go away- at this point why do people care. The fact that people are standing outside the family home is just pathetic that 1. A camera man would feel the need to get this photo. 2. That some tabloid would pay huge $$$$ for the photo because they know a ton of 3. Stupid people will buy the tabloid because of the photo

  20. RDPoulsbo says:

    I agree with you xcman. For as big of a story has become, all it really amounts to is a bad soap opera storyline. There are a lot of worse things that happen with college players, but the media is clinging to this one because it’s easy to sensationalize. I agree that Te’o is overrated, but it has nothing to do with the catfishing junk.

    As for the age requirement for football, I happen to agree with it. If nothing else, it makes the athlete make his grades and get an education to fall back on after football. Yes, football careers have a short shelf life, which is exactly why they should have an education to transition into after they’re done with the game. For most, it’s before the preseason games of their rookie seasons are even complete. The stars of the game will be taken care of and will have plenty of money to last their entire lives, but that’s not the case for about 90% of them.

  21. The thing that gets me is that in this age of high-tech, the kid apparently never contacted this ‘girl’ via Skype, which is free. Even with a minimal account and a basic smartphone there’s no way they could have a loving relationship without communicating face to face.

    For Skype, you don’t even need a SIM in the phone – just a Wi-Fi connection will do it. They could have called each other from the local Mall!

    This makes me suspicious of Te’o and I would question not only has intelligence, but also his motivation and his honesty if I were a NFL scout. Luckily for him, I’m not a scout :-)

  22. DanielleMND says:

    These days, a lot of people, especially younger ones, meet and fall in love online. It’s not unusual. That said, T’eo strikes me as naive. But just imagine how he must feel being the victim of a cruel hoax, and the media has to keep asking him about it.

  23. edstang45 says:

    I agree this Story is only a big deal because the media made it so. It’s no crime for an 18-19 year or even any age for that matter to make a fool of himself in matters of the heart. None knows if he has ever had a girlfreind no one knows his maturity level considering girls or lack of girls. What the hell does that have to do with anything football oriented. This guy hasn’t been accused of any abuse, women, drugs or alchohol, he hasn’t burglarized Top Pot Doughnuts, been arrested for smoke, hasn’t ran over and killed a pedestrian at the early hours in Florida, hasn’t been involved with the murder.
    wish this stupid story would just go away! The Kid seemed pretty self contolled and honest enough on the NFL Channel press conference. Actually it seems about as stupid as the petty arguments going on in here lately. Peace out and lets get us a couple of pressure guys! Go Hawks

  24. Te’o – ” So you let that chaos kind of DIE down”
    – extremely poor choice of words in his case.
    He reminds me of Lofa Tatupu, probably more physically gifted, but maybe not as mentally tough.
    My friend thought Te’o was gay the first time he heard of the catfishing scam and heard him speak. It just may be true, that he didn’t want to come out of the closet, so he carried on this long distance relationship with a dude.
    Georgia, I’ll start the song parody of Te’o for you:

    Te’~O, me say Te ay ay O
    Daylight come and me wanna go home.

    Come mister telly man tally me banana
    Daylight come and me wanna go home,
    Daylight come and me wanna go home.

    Paparazzi stop me but I wanna go home,
    paparazzi block me but I wanna go home.

    Te! Me say Te, Me say Te, Me say Te’O!
    daylight come and me wanna go home.

    Ha ha ha…

  25. edstang45 says:

    Duke and Bobbyk, and several of the more knowledgable guys in here thought last year early it was a big mistake to start RW, so what!! everyone here now is glad he did start and grow into our franchise guy. Lots of varied opinions and ideas of what should and should not happen here that makes it fun and worth reading. So have a shot and chill

  26. Btw, for those that may think that I’m being insensitive, for the record I don’t have much sympathy for Te’o.
    I’m just having fun with the mess he created for himself.
    Didn’t he benefit for awhile when he was treated as a hero and a warrior for fighting through all that adversity?
    There is no way that Te’o could be that naive, something else is up.
    Something’s definitely rotten in Denmark.
    It smells fishy. Like catfish:)
    I don’t trust him and I don’t believe his version of events.
    Too many holes in it.
    It doesn’t make sense that he never met his fiancee even once face to face in all that time. I have had long distance relationships in the past, and if you feel that strongly about each other, you find a way to meet and make it happen no matter what.
    The truth is out there, and it will surface sooner or later.
    It will float up to the surface like a dead catfish…

  27. montanamike2 says:

    I don’t trust his story either. I’m sure glad we have a better player in Bobby Wagner at his position, we need a will. He brings the traveling circus big time as in Tebow time.

  28. NFL Network spent about half an hour talking about Te’o today, which was irritating. What does this all have to do with how he plays football? I am more interested in how he runs his drills and how he has played in games.

  29. SandpointHawk says:

    Personally I’m sick of this story but if anyone is interested this link explains a bit about Manti Te’o and Mormonism: Understanding LDS Dating Culture.

  30. GeorgiaHawk says:

    I’m sick of the story too SandpointHawk, especially when the likes of Dr. Phil gets involved.

  31. montanamike2 says:

    I think he’s gay and hiding it, maybe i’m wrong but my brother,(different father) was gay and he went through hell as a teen, nowdays it would be a whole different story.

  32. bbnate420 says:

    montanamike2, that’s one of the prevalent theories out there. Definitely could be a reason for the story not quite adding up to some people.

    Also could be just what he says it was. This definitely points out a generation gap. There’s a movie and MTV show dedicated to this very issue called Catfish. This isn’t that strange to a lot of young people. Even older people that have trouble meeting people in the real world or are lonely. I’m 31 and don’t personally really get it, although I also don’t have a Twitter account or spend half my life on Facebook so maybe that’s why.

    I didn’t realize he was a Mormon, although I think that I had maybe heard that before. That would definitely explain the naivete if his story is the truth. That also adds another significant reason that he probably wouldn’t come out if this really was just a cover for being gay, as if being a football player wasn’t enough.

  33. bbnate420 says:

    P.S. None of that should matter. It shouldn’t be a story. It’s just a sensational story that the media can use to make money, unfortunately a large portion of our society feeds this.

  34. raymaines says:

    John Clayton weighs in on the Te’o press conference:

    “So, did you love him?”

  35. Well, I see Clayton is trying to keep it going. How tiresome. Move on media…

  36. rramstad says:

    Agree with Montana Mike. It was a strategy for years for gay Hollywood stars to date starlets and get lots of press and ink when out on the town… hell, some gay Hollywood stars even got married. It would not surprise me in the least if this relationship was manufactured to take some heat off on campus… i.e. if there were some rumors going around that he was gay, sure, make up a woman off campus that he’s in love with. Unfortunately the story got legs and when it became clear that people were going to start asking questions, they tried to kill her off, but that created more questions…

    It would not surprise me at all to hear that he’s gay, and that because of his LDS background, and the culture at Notre Dame, it was impossible for him to allow that to come out.

    BTW, I don’t think he’s a first round talent. I do think he’d be a good role player on a well established defense, though. Strikes me as a guy who won’t be the fastest or toughest or strongest, but would probably play a lot of snaps at a reasonably high level.

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