From the combine: NFL teams eager to see how Manti Te’o handles the media

Brian McIntyre
February 21, 2013

INDIANAPOLIS -- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o is trying to move on from the internet girlfriend hoax that landed him on Katie Couric's couch. Te'o is hoping to let his play on the football field do the talking for him, but he is expected to draw a large crowd for his combine media session on Saturday.

Te'o should know that NFL teams are watching to see how he handles the media rush.

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“We’re going to find out if he can handle the media or not," Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said on Thursday. "I’m sure he’s going to be up at this podium one day and people will have some questions for him. But he’s getting a lot of experience in handling the media scrutiny per se."

With Jasper Brinkley an unrestricted free agent this offseason, the Vikings, who have the No. 23 pick in the first round, could be a landing spot for Te'o in the draft.

"We’ll have him in our room. We’re going to spend a lot of time with him because he’s a very talented prospect," said Spielman. "People have asked why he didn’t play so good in the Alabama game. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m sure there will be a lot of questions thrown his way. But from the view of the overall big picture, he is a very talented football player."

As part of their draft evaluations, NFL teams closely monitor social media outlets to see how prospects conduct themselves. Charles Robinson of Yahoo! Sports reported in 2009 on how teams create "ghost" profiles to befriend players on social media. Most prospects understand that they're in the middle of a job interview process and clean up their act, though there are still some players who haven't quite received the memo.

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"You'd be shocked. Our security guy does a Twitter and Facebook count," Seattle Seahawks general manager John Schneider said. "It goes both ways, through. There are some guys on Twitter, and it's like they're trying to be Eddie Haskell now. They're putting out, 'Oh, I'm going to work out' and it's 3:30 in the morning. That's kinda weird, you know? But it does go both ways. You see some things that are very alarming. The Facebook stuff -- a couple years ago, you had that one guy (unnamed) who had a pile of coke and a couple guns sitting there.

"I don't think that bodes very well. I know my boss wouldn't really like that."

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