Believe what you will (I don't think this is the whole story), but after hearing his "confession" I'm sure of one thing: this guy will never be a star in the NFL.
Manti Te'o denied being part of a hoax involving a relationship with a person online whom he considered his girlfriend, during an interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap on Friday night, but did say he "tailored" his stories so people would think he "met her before she passed away." "No. Never," Te'o said during the 2½-hour interview. "I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this." Manti Te'o of Notre Dame Fighting Irish denies being part of hoax about late girlfriend - ESPN DallasWhy am I so sure of this guy's future?
You only have to look at his answer to the question about how he responded when he found out he had been tricked. Basically, he did nothing, short of getting mad and finally telling the university. No action, no retaliation.
You want to know the correct answer a true NFL linebacker like Ray Lewis, Lawrence Taylor or Dick Butkus would give? (And for you college players reading this who want to play in the NFL and will the taking the Wonderlic test, this is the answer if that question ever comes up.)
"As soon as I found out I had been scammed, I punched a hole in the wall. A concrete wall in the dorm and it caused some damage to the foundation. Then, I called on some of my boys from the team told them what happened and we kidnapped some nerds on campus and made them figure out who was behind it. Then we stole a credit card from the athletic department, bought plane tickets to the town those bastards live in and flew out there. On the way we called some Notre Dame fans who live in the area to go the house and hold the guy(s) until we got there. When we got there, we got drunk, drove to the house and then beat the crap outta them. Of course we got arrested and Coach Kelly had to bail us out with booster money and bribe the local cops 50 grand to keep it out of the papers. When we got back we had to fix the foundation, apologize to the nerds, repair the foundation and run 100 laps."
That may seem kind of nasty in the normal world, but in the world of the NFL, guys who are supposed to lead, lead. Guys who get emotional, get emotional and punish their opponents. They don't wait for someone else to take action for them and the great ones knew that. Oh yeah, Te'o has the physical skills and was a fine college player, but the way this story has played out makes him look weak and indecisive. These are not the qualities of a star NFL linebacker.
Some team will draft him high and will give him a shot, but every coach, every teammate, every opponent will look for that indecision, that weakness. And it will be there, whether real or imagined, but they'll see it and they won't trust him. How could they? First he got scammed for a year (hasn't Te'o every heard of Skype or Facetime?) and then he let the scammers off the hook. A decent thing to do if you're an average Joe, but Te'o is supposed to be a team leader.
He might be a good man, but he's not an NFL linebacker.