NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Manti Te’o told USA Today on Monday that he doesn’t believe the online hoax that fooled him will affect his stock in the upcoming NFL draft.
The former Notre Dame linebacker also said he has shut down his Twitter account and isn’t sure if he will ever use social media again.
Te’o has only granted a couple of interviews since he acknowledged falling in love with a nonexistent woman invented by another man who insists the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy was unaware of the scam during the online relationship.
The NFL combine begins Wednesday in Indianapolis, and Te’o is certain to face a lot of questions from teams wanting to know more about how he was drawn into the bizarre hoax that made national headlines.
“I have to just go out there and perform and all that other stuff is behind me,” he told USA Today. “What I did on the field is what I did on the field. I don’t think what I did with this whole situation, I don’t understand how it takes away from what I did on the field.
“As far as my stock dropping or rising, that’s not up to me. The only thing I have to do is just do well, run fast, just be myself, be quick.”
Before the scandal, Te’o was considered on some mock draft boards to be a match for the New York Giants at No. 19. General manager Jerry Reese said last month the Giants would interview the linebacker, “just like we interview everybody else.”
“I have to just be myself,” said Te’o. “For me, the greatest fault would be to tell somebody something I’m not. And when it’s time to do the interviews, just be myself and everything will fall into place.”
Te’o, who has been training in Florida, also told the newspaper he isn’t dating anyone and remains the same person he was before he found out about the scam.
“My trust in people is the same,” he said. “I’m just more cautious.”
Te’o told USA Today in a separate article that he was among a large group of NFL hopefuls to participate in a “Harlem Shake” video at IMG Academy. The clip had over 230,000 views as of Tuesday morning.
“It was good to loosen up and have some fun,” Te’o said. “I had a fireman hat on and one of the masks we use for oxygen training and some big Mickey Mouse-looking shoes.”
Where do you see Te’o being picked? Is he still a first-rounder? Be heard in the comments!
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