San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o didn’t start his NFL career with a huge fanfare some projected him to have or as the wild Hawaiian linebacker who dominated 51 games at Notre Dame. Instead, Te’o missed the first four regular season games in addition to the final three preseason games. A gap of roughly seven weeks before Te’o would m his first NFL start on Sept. 29 against the Dallas Cowboys.
Te’o’s only preseason action involved a total of nine defensive snaps against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 8. Te’o would then sport a walking boot professing to the media that he was recovering from a sprained right ankle.
The truth has been revealed. Te’o recently posted photos on his Instagram account confirming that he had indeed broken his foot at the start of the season. The x-ray image shows that the surgery was performed on Jan. 23. For the last five months, Te’o had been living, walking and playing football on a right foot that appears to have required screws and a rod to fix. It is unclear to what extent the injury limited Te’o from producing on the field.
Bare this in mind, instead of folding his cards on his rookie season, Te’o made a strong effort to play for the team that traded up in the draft to sign him. A display of heart and determination this is the type of player that the Chargers thrive under. Te’o had also called defensive plays during the absence of Donald Butler due to injuries.
After a catfish scandal which stirred media frenzy about a nonexistent girlfriend named Lennay Kekua and her apparent fatal car accident, Te’o needed to get back to what he does best and play football. This scandal may have tarnished his image, but even this will and has become old news and it’s up to Te’o to instill a positive one.
Te’o was projected to be an impact player, a possible first round draft pick, but an injury slowed him down. As time developed he began to make brilliant plays and Chargers fans should be thrilled to see what’s to come. Expect to see a healthy Manti Te’o next season in the middle of the defense making big plays. The linebacking core should be a strong force once the Chargers re-sign Butler and regain pass rushers, Dwight Freeney and Melvin Ingram for a full season.
Photo Credit: Denis Poroy, AP Photos
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