Manti Te’o has dealt with arguably the craziest, most hectic two months any 22-year old may ever have to deal with. After coming in as the Heisman Trophy runner-up, the highest finish ever for an exclusively defensive player, his reputation was ruined when Deadspin broke the fact that the death of his girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, was a hoax.
Of course, sandwiched in between those two life-altering events was the BCS national title game. To that point, Te’o had been the heart and soul of the 12-0 and No. 1-overall Notre Dame Fighting Irish. However, after coach Nick Saban’s Alabama squad was through with him and his teammates, Te’o was the gashed heart and ragged soul of a group blown away by a dynasty.
Since, he has appeared on Katie Couric to try to clear the air regarding the hoax, but, and of all things, the question of a girlfriend has been the one to linger into Te’o's NFL Combine testing.
Yes, on Monday, Te’o ran a 4.81-second 40-yard dash. The time was incredibly disappointing, especially for a player who had been hoping to be selected amongst the top 10-overall. Now, he may be left outside of the first round looking in.
But, again, that may not be because of his speed. According to Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, it may be because teams believe Te’o has not been honest with them regarding his sexuality (Florio talks Te’o at the 3:52 mark).
NFL organizations invest millions of dollars annually into players who have literally never even stepped foot onto a practice field, let alone played against professionals. Thus, scouts, coaches and general managers all labor tirelessly to work out every single detail in order to bring the unknowns regarding a player as close to a minimum as possible.
If Te’o is not being truthful, on any level, teams are going to work hard to find out.
If they do, Te’o's entire world will once again be rocked to its very foundations.
And all the young linebacker wants to do is play football.