Manti Te'o stood in front of a room full of reporters waiting for his words about his past at the NFL Combine that began over the weekend. The short answer to what he wanted teams to do with him was to judge him based on his work on the field and not about the naivete it took for him to fall for a fake girlfriend. They say that perception is reality. The reality for Te'o now is that perception may be changing about him again after his slow 40 times
that were in the 4.8 range at the combine today.
There already was two distinct sides to the Te'o argument. One side took their questions about him as a player and probably wrote him off as a prospect when the story came out. Questions about him as a player were magnified when he was physically dominated and often out of position in the National Championship Game against the Alabama Crimson Tide. Perhaps there are teams who just did not want to deal with the drama. After all, it was revealed during the press conference that 12 teams were not going to interview the former Notre Dame Mike backer. Another side saw the player who routinely made impact plays over his final two seasons playing as under the vast microscope that is always turned to the South Bend football program. That side saw that Manti Te'o was simply a nice kid to trusts too easily and has been too sheltered throughout his life. Now he has to be compared to the other young middle linebackers in the league.
The side who still likes Te'o must be thinking about Brandon Spikes from the New England Patriots and his famous 40 time of 5.06 seconds. The side that is still questioning him or has written him off needs to look no further Luke Kuechly's time in the 4.5 range.
Te'o probably helped himself the way he came off during the presser over the weekend, but he certainly did not help himself with his 40 times today. For him the 40 time is a bit more important than some other players in the draft because the emphasis on spread offenses and speed will necessitate each team to have a middle linebacker that can go from sideline to sideline. Te'o still has plenty of work to do before he really becomes a NFL player. Knowing that, maybe it is a good thing that he doesn't have a girlfriend.