- Field Yates, ESPN Insider
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INDIANAPOLIS -- A swarm of media crowded "Podium C" inside of Lucas Oil Stadium as Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o fielded questions relating to the recent fake girlfriend hoax he was involved in, as well as how it impacts his NFL future.
Passing along quick hits from the 15-minute question and answer session.
Regarding the hoax:
"About the incident, I said all I needed to say about that. How I'm handling it going forward is doing what I'm doing right now, focusing on the moment, focusing on football and the combine. Not everybody gets this opportunity to be here. I'm sure there's thousands and thousands of people that would like to be here in Indianapolis, so I'm just trying to enjoy the moment."
How much has he been asked about it?
"Quite a few teams asked me about it. Some go to certain lengths, some just ask me, 'Give me the brief overview of how it was' and then they just get straight to business about football."
What have they asked?
"'Just tell me the facts.' They want to hear from me, and I just tell them basically what happened."
Have you gotten the sense that what happened will affect your draft status?
"No, not really. They told me, they've all just wanted to hear from me what the truth was, and they haven't really said anything about it affecting me."
Do you worry about how you'll be treated in the locker room?
"No, I've learned the difference between the things I can control and the things I can't control. Hopefully by doing the things I can control, I'll have more favor in the other category. Whatever team I go to, I'm just going to be me, I'm going to work hard and just do my best to help the team win. Whatever happens happens."
On the media coverage nationally of the incident:
"It got overwhelming at times. The hardest part, as I've said, was just to see not necessarily my first name but just my last name. Everybody here, you treasure your last name, that's what you hold dear, that's something that when you pass on, the only thing that stays here is your last name."
How many teams have you met with?
"I've met with the Texans and I've met with the Packers."
How many more?
"I'm not sure. I know I'll be formally meeting with 18 more teams, I don't know specifically who they are. I'll find out soon, but I know I'm meeting with 20 total, 18 more."
What do you bring to the table as a football player?
"I think I bring a lot of heart, a lot of energy, and somebody who works hard. Somebody who hates to lose. I always said I hate losing more than I love to win. And the reason I love to win is because I don't have to go through that feeling of losing. It's those times that I lose -- that feeling will always stick with me. For the teams, I just tell them you will get someone who is humble, who works hard, doesn't say much and will do everything it takes to win."
Do you have a hurdle to climb over to show you're an honest person?
"It could be a hurdle, but it could also be a chance to show who you really are. That's the way I've approached it, and it's been a good growing experience for me."
What have you learned from the incident?
"For me I've learned just to be honest in anything you do in everything, big things and small things. Secondly to keep your circle very small and to really understand who's really in your corner and who's not. After the season my teammates and I had, we had a lot of people in our corner, then when January 16th happened, there's a lot of people in the other corner. I just learned to appreciate the people that I have that are with me and to just make sure to always try to turn a negative thing into a positive."
What's been the toughest moment since this all came out?
"I think the toughest moment, to be honest with you, was a phone call that I got from my sister, where she told me that they had to sneak my own family in their home because there were people parked in the yard and stuff like that. That had to be the hardest part and for me something that I've always had a problem with is when I can't do something about it, when I can't help. To know that my family was in a situation because of the actions I committed was definitely the hardest part for me."
Te'o closed the press conference with final remarks:
"It's been a hard but tremendous ride for me and my family and the University of Notre Dame, and I'd like to thank my parents, my family, my friends, the University of Notre Dame and everybody who supports me and I can't do it without all of you. Hopefully after this, I've answered the things I needed to answer and we can move on with football."
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