Emery: Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o ‘a very squared-away guy’Continue reading.
Bears will talk to Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o
INDIANAPOLIS — Manti Te’o's notorious catfishing controversy won’t scare off the Bears. In fact, general manager Phil Emery said they’ll interview the once-praised Notre Dame middle linebacker without directly saying it.
“This will be my 16th draft … every individual is unique,” Emery said when asked about Te’o at the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Field on Thursday. “Believe me, there are unique stories across every college class. So, is that unique? No. That is a situation and issue that has to be dealt with and worked through. Obviously, at some point we will sit down and talk to the player about it and see where he is at on it.
“That situation, as far as somebody having something that is different than what has happened to other people, I would say that is true with a good portion of this college class. Everyone, each individual is going to be unique and they’re going to have their own unique situations with their family that they have had to deal with, off the field, on the field and situations that come up in life. It’s about how they handle it. Can they still produce and be a productive member of your team?”
Te’o's draft stock has dropped since the story broke that his girlfriend — the subject of numerous stories and interviews and said to be a source of inspiration for the linebacker — was fake and that he was the victim of a bizarre hoax. Te’o has denied being part of the hoax.
Some draft analysts have linked Te’o to the Bears, who hold the No. 20 overall pick and need to eventually find a middle linebacker to replace Brian Urlacher. ESPN’s Todd McShay, in his latest projections, has the Bears drafting Te’o.
Te’o, Georgia’s Alec Ogletree and LSU’s Kevin Minter are the only inside linebackers who rate as first-rounders. But Te’o (catfishing controversy) and Ogletree (DUI arrest) come with concerns.
Emery stressed that a player’s character is a big part of the Bears’ ratings.
“We’re always trying to dig further on the character of the player and the background to try to predict what that person is going to be in those areas at the next level,” Emery said.
There are concerns with Te’o's speed and his ability to cover receivers. But Te’o's leadership skills and other intangible qualities are what made many project him as a first-rounder. It’s those characteristics that may interest the Bears.
“You’re looking for leaders,” Emery said. “You’re looking for people who demonstrate leadership at least in some way, whether it’s by example or it’s by that person can help pull others up and help bring the group up and perform at a higher level. So if there’s no evidence of leadership [or] if you have somebody that is a selfish person, who is self-oriented to a degree where it’s a team distraction, you want to avoid those types of characters.”