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Manti Te'o puts girlfriend hoax in past at Chargers' rookie camp

May 10, 2013|By Matt Wilhalme
  • Manti Te'o will wear No. 50 for the San Diego Chargers in honor of his home state of Hawaii.
Manti Te'o will wear No. 50 for the San Diego Chargers in honor of his… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)

Manti Te’o is moving past the controversy that once seemed to taint his draft stock and is now focusing on stopping the run or getting to the quarterback for the San Diego Chargers.

Te’o, who signed a four-year deal with the Chargers on Thursday, participated in his first day of rookie camp on Friday in San Diego.

“I'm here to play football,” the linebacker said, according to the Associated Press. “I'm not focusing on what is going on on the outside. I'm worried about what we're doing here in San Diego and I'm looking forward to when the veterans come in on Monday.”

As a senior at Notre Dame, Te’o was a finalist for the Hesiman Trophy while intercepting seven passes -- the most by a major college linebacker in a single season since 2001 -- and led the Fighting Irish with 113 tackles en route to a No. 1 national ranking and Bowl Championship Series national-title game appearance against the Alabama Crimson Tide.

However, Te’o failed to impress on the national stage as Notre Dame was blown out by Alabama, 42-14, and then had a less-than-stellar effort at the NFL combine. The Chargers traded up in the second round of the NFL draft so they could select a player once thought to be a top-20 pick.

“He's one of ours now and we're going to win a lot of football games with him,” San Diego Coach Mike McCoy said.

Te’o played at inside linebacker during the portion of practice open to the media. He's expected to change for a starting spot at that position with San Diego.

“When you take a player like we did, where we did, you want them to come in and play,” McCoy said. “We are going to plug him in there on Monday and he will be in that first huddle with everybody else.”

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