Te'o doing tough balancing act at NFL combine
BY MICHAEL MAROT Associated Press
Sunday, February 24, 2013
2/24/13 at 7:10 AM
INDIANAPOLIS - Manti Te'o walked into a crowded room of reporters Saturday, took a breath and settled in for 15 minutes of NFL scouting combine history.
Again, the former Notre Dame linebacker explained how he had been duped in the Internet romance he had with a girlfriend he never met, and again, he tried to turn the page on an embarrassing chapter by talking football.
He answered every question with thoughtful deliberation and tried to provide clarity on a hoax that turned one of the nation's most inspirational football players into the butt of national jokes.
"I cared for somebody. That's what I was taught to do ever since I was young. Somebody needs help, you help them out," Te'o said.
Later he added: "People doubted me because I took a while to come out. From our point of view, we wanted to let everything come out first, and then let my side come out. The way we did it, I thought, worked best for me."
Te'o's news conference was the most anticipated event of the NFL's second-biggest offseason weekend, which brought the makeshift media room inside Lucas Oil Stadium to a virtual standstill - twice.
"It's pretty crazy," said Te'o, who has played most of his games on national television and was one of the most recognizable college players last season. "I've been in front of a few cameras before, but never as many as this."
Only two scenes from the combine over the past 15 years could even compare to what Te'o had to contend with Saturday.
The first came in 2004 when former Ohio State running back Maurice Clarett was allowed to participate in the combine after a court ruled he should be allowed to enter the draft after finishing high school only two years earlier.
That decision was later reversed.
The other time was 2010, when Heisman Trophy winner and two-time national champion Tim Tebow stepped to the podium in Indianapolis and everyone, including those listening to Packers coach Mike McCarthy, sprinted to the opposite end of the room for Tebow.
Original Print Headline: Te'o news event draws huge crowd at NFL combine