Manti Te’o will be treated like any other rookie that walks into Chargers camp this summer — except he’s the only one who had a very public fake relationship, so the veterans will have more ammo for their jokes.
San Diego linebacker Donald Butler, who will likely start next to the former Golden Domer at inside linebacker in the Chargers’ 3-4 defense, said the team won’t hold back on their jokes, but only because Te’o should be able to take it.
“I’m sure he’ll get some jabs,” Butler told U-T San Diego. “But that comes with being a rookie. He might get a little more because of his situation, but I’m sure he’s man enough to handle it and really grow from it. I don’t think it’s going to be anything over-the-top. It’ll be your normal rookie jokes.”
Te’o has surely heard the jokes before, but not in a situation where he’s trying to impress new teammates. But if Te’o impresses on the field, which is the only thing Butler is concerned about, the jokes will likely subside.
“My things is I just want to see him come here and work,” Butler said. “A lot of people are talking about the future, and as bright as the future may seem or sound, he has to come in and prove himself before anything. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I want someone coming in ready and willing to work and learn and be a part of this defense.
“From what I’ve heard, he’s going to come in and work, and that’s all I can really expect and hope for.”
Te’o was the No. 38 overall pick in the 2013 NFL draft. It probably won’t help the linebacker that his fake girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, “lived” in Southern California.
Te’o’s teammates are one thing, but the rookie will really have to get prepared to take punishment from opposing fans this season. The Chargers play on the road against Philadelphia, Tennessee, Oakland, Jacksonville, Washington, Miami, Kansas City and Denver. That Philly game could be brutal in Week 2 of the regular season.
Photo via Facebook/San Diego Chargers
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