Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder confirmed on Friday that he is indeed dating ESPN sideline reporter Samantha Steele, whom he had met on the set of "College GameDay" several months ago, Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com reports.
"There's been a thousand articles today about it," Ponder said on Friday. "You can't really worry about it. You've got to try to keep it private, but that's just part of the industry, part of the job. I don't know. Comes with the territory."
Ribbing from teammates also comes with the territory. According to Pelisserio, tight end Kyle Rudolph and other teammates have taken to referring to Ponder as "Christian Steele," but that hasn't phased Ponder, the No. 12 overall pick of the 2011 NFL draft.
"I'm proud of the relationship," Ponder said, smiling. "I can brag. I've got bragging rights, I believe."
Ponder initially revealed the existence of a relationship when he sent and quickly deleted a tweet to Steele, who was with him at the time. Ponder also sent a tweet to Steele on Oct. 9, claiming to have spotted her in a local Target.
— Christian Ponder (@cponder7) October 9, 2012
With Ponder focused on his NFL career, and the 26-year-0ld Steele often on the road for her job, the 24-year-old Ponder suggested that their busy, but synchronized schedules could be a plus for the longevity of their now public relationship.
"The cool thing is that obviously, we're both at the same time, so we don't get to see each other that much," Ponder said. "But at least one person isn't feeling guilty about not making the effort to do it or whatever. Then we kind of have the same schedule in the offseason, so that'll be good."
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