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Te’o finally gets chance to focus on football
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Manti Te’o’s first appearance on a football field since the BCS championship game didn’t go as well as planned Monday.
The Notre Dame star and Heisman Trophy runner-up was clocked at 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash. NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock had said Sunday anything faster than 4.7 would be “phenomenal.” Anything 4.8 or over would be a “concern.”
The workout came more than a month after Te’o’s highly-publicized online romance with a girlfriend was exposed as a hoax and that he was a victim of the hoax.
Since then, he’s done a handful of 1-on-1 interviews and took questions Saturday in one of the craziest scenes in NFL scouting combine history. Reporters crowded around the podium, lining up eight deep to hear Te’o talk one more time about what happened.
Some have wondered if the embarrassing story was a distraction leading into the national championship game, in which Te’o and his Notre Dame teammates played poorly in a blowout loss to Alabama.
The linebacker said Saturday the hoax had no impact on that game. And he insists it has not affected his preparation for the combine, either.
But instead of putting those concerns to rest with a good showing Monday, Te’o fell short of his goals again _ and not just in the 40.
Te’o participated in five of the seven drills, opting out of the bench press and 60-yard shuttle, and did not finish ranked among the top five at his position in any of them.
His vertical jump was 33 inches, far below Southern Mississippi’s Jamie Collins’ positional best of 41 1/2. Te’o jumped 113 inches in the broad jump. He finished the three-cone drill in 7.13 seconds, well off the pace set by Missouri’s Zaviar Gooden (6.71). Te’o completed the 20-yard shuttle in 4.27 seconds, again behind Gooden’s 4.18.
After the workouts, which were closed to the media, Te’o told NFL Network that he could have done better _ and that he will at next month’s Pro Day at Notre Dame.
Scouts also have been curious to see how former LSU cornerback Tyrann Mathieu would perform in Indy after getting kicked off his college team last summer and took the entire season off.
Mathieu didn’t do well Monday, either. He did only four reps on the 225-pound bench press, tied with Appalachian State’s Demetrius McCray for the lowest among all defensive backs.
The defensive backs will complete their workouts Tuesday, the final day of the combine.
By Donald Lambro
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