For Sunday, April 28, 2013
POSTED: 1:30 a.m. HST, Apr 28, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 2:44 a.m. HST, Apr 28, 2013
SAN DIEGO >> After dealing with the commotion over his fake online girlfriend and his flop in the national championship game, Manti Te'o believes he's ready for the NFL.
That includes being mentally tough enough for the verbal abuse he'll surely hear in places like Philadelphia, where the San Diego Chargers play their first road game next season, and Oakland's infamous "Black Hole."
"After the couple months I've been through, I think I'm pretty prepared," Te'o said Saturday in his introductory news conference. "As far as going into another stadium, you can't worry about that stuff. You're with your family, you're with your brothers out there. That's all that matters. That's all you can really pay attention to. Yeah, it's a football game, and you play with the guys that you've prepared with, and you focus on what's important, and that's making sure that when the Chargers walk off, we're victorious."
The Chargers' rookie brain trust, general manager Tom Telesco and coach Mike McCoy, said they weren't bothered by the scrutiny Te'o has been under the past four months. The Chargers traded up in the second round (38th overall) to pick the star Notre Dame linebacker. Te'o visited with Telesco and McCoy in San Diego before the draft and gave his version of what happened with the girlfriend hoax and his poor play in Notre Dame's blowout loss to Alabama in the national championship game.
"I just concentrate on me being me," said Te'o, who seemed relaxed in facing the media. "What I learned from that is you can control certain things and you can't control other things. So, learn to control the things you can and leave the things you can't control up to those people. I was just happy to get out there and share my side of the story, to just tell them that hey, what happened was what happened and what I'm here to do is play football. Hopefully guys saw that."
Te'o said he's been welcomed by his new teammates, with quarterback Philip Rivers being the first to text him with congratulations. He's even getting on well with Alabama right tackle D.J. Fluker, the Chargers' first-round pick.