Manti Te’o tries to rebound

Jon Gruden can be annoying as hell with his delivery and silly phrases, but he does tend to cut to the heart of the matter when interviewing quarterbacks and other draft prospects in his Gruden Camp on ESPN. Here we have a tough interview where Gruden grills Manti Te’o about the Alabama game. He offered Te’o the chance to blame his lackluster performance on being distracted by the fake girlfriend fiasco, but Te’o doesn’t bite and takes responsibility for his play.

This is an example of how Te’o is starting to redeem himself in the eyes of some scouts. He had a brutal run of bad impressions, from the girlfriend drama, to the horrible performance against Alabama to the even worse performance at the scouting combine.

But the word is out that Te’o is impressing NFL executives in how he’s handling his interviews. That’s a big deal given how much pressure this kid is facing. Also, and more importantly, he looked a lot better and ran faster at his pro day at Notre Dame. As the focus turns more to football, Te’o starts to look better.

The issue of course for Te’o is dealing with the inevitable razzing in the locker room. He can probably squelch a lot of talk in the future if he visits a website to buy an engagement ring for a real girl, versus using a website to chat with a fake one. Or maybe just showing up with a real woman on his arms in a way that’s natural and not staged. Either way, the kid will have to do something, but he shouldn’t have much problem finding willing partners.

Of course, Te’o won’t say that. He says that tackles on the field will win over teammates, and of course that’s the right answer to give, mostly because it’s true. But few of us believe he wasn’t distracted during the Alabama game, and that’s the biggest issue. In the end, he needs to get beyond this personal drama, and well scripted mea culpa answers won’t be enough.

Follow the Scores Report editors on Twitter @clevelandteams and @bullzeyedotcom.

Related Posts