Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Sports

December 13, 2013

NFL: Te'o says he's ignored flak over girlfriend hoax

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Manti Te'o says his rough rookie season has nothing to do with the flak he's faced over getting fooled by a hoax involving a fake girlfriend while at Notre Dame.

The San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker said in his first conference call of the season Tuesday that he has yet to play a complete game in the NFL but that's because of his adjustment to the pros and not because he's distracted in any way by the catcalls from opposing teams or their fans.

Te'o said he does a good job blocking out the chatter from the stands.

"I've definitely heard things, but my job is to go out there and to play ball and do my best and hopefully come out with a win. So, all the other outside stuff, if I'm paying attention to that, then I'm in trouble," Te'o said. "But that's what fans do. They love their team. They're passionate about their team, so it's nothing that I didn't expect."

Te'o said he hasn't really caught much grief from opposing players.

"I haven't really run into any of that. I think as players we understand that we're all in the same situation. We're all here to play ball and we're here as football players, we're trying to provide a life for our families and that's about it," Te'o said.

"When we step on the football field, it's all about football and competing. So, I haven't really run into any of that stuff."

Yet, when asked a follow-up question about opponents trying to get under his skin, he did acknowledge that they sometimes bring up the issue.

"But to be honest, I'm so locked into the game that basically I don't really catch it," he said. "And at this point, it doesn't really bother me. So, it's no big deal, really."

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