According to Te’o, every NFL team he talked to had questions regarding the incident, but the length of the prodding varied.
The 6-foot-1, 255-pound linebacker was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy last season, when he helped lead Notre Dame to the Bowl Championship Series title game. He had been projected as a high first-round pick but there has been speculation that his stock could take a hit as a result of the hoax.
But several NFL decision makers indicated that while they will question Te’o on the incident, their ultimate concern is what kind of linebacker he is.
“We’ll bring him in,” New York Giants General Manager Jerry Reese said Saturday. “We’ll let him explain that situation for us. I think there’s people with a lot more issues than this issue. We’re more interested in what kind of football player he is, more than anything else. These things get blown out of proportion a little bit. But we’ll investigate it and see where it goes.”
Said Carolina Panthers Coach Ron Rivera: “If he can handle that distraction and still be able to perform on the football field, I really don’t think it makes that much of a difference. Whatever happened is a set of circumstances that only he really knows what it was all about. We’ll talk about it. We’ll find out about it. The bottom line is, is he a good person and can he play football? That’s probably the most important thing that he’ll have to answer.
“I don’t think it’s going to hurt his draft stock. He’s coming here to improve his draft stock. I do think he’s a heck of a football player and I think he’s got a bright future in this league.”
After an NFL media relations worker informed everyone that Te’o’s interview was over, the linebacker remained at the podium a minute longer to relay one final message.
“I’d just like to thank everybody for being here,” he said. “It’s been a hard but tremendous ride for me and my family and the University of Notre Dame. I’d like to thank my parents, my family, my friends, the University of Notre Dame and everybody who supports me. I couldn’t do it without all of you, and just hopefully, after this, I’ve answered the things I need to answer and, you know, we can move on with football.”