Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Manti Te'o runs 40 in 4.71
ESPN.com news services
Manti Te'o ran his long-awaited 40-yard dashes Tuesday at Notre Dame's pro day and was slightly faster than he was at last month's NFL scouting combine.
ESPN's Todd McShay timed Te'o at 4.75 seconds in his first 40 and 4.71 seconds in his second.
The times represent an improvement upon his 4.82-second 40 at the combine of about one-tenth of a second.
"I felt good. I'm at home now," Te'o told reporters. "I was very pleased with how I performed."
Official times will not be released for the 40s of Notre Dame players at Tuesday's pro day. However, Notre Dame unofficially clocked Te'o at 4.69 seconds -- two-hundredths of a second faster than McShay's unofficial time.
Following Te'o's subpar performance at the combine, he said he expected to post better workout results at his pro day.
"This is possibly the best day ever. It's a big, big burden off your shoulders," he said. "It feels like it's your birthday. I'm very glad that it's over."
ESPN's Bill Polian, a former general manager and president of three NFL teams, believes that Te'o is "in the mix" to be a first-round draft pick thanks to the results of Tuesday's workout.
Te'o also has been projected as a first-round pick by McShay and fellow ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr.
However, Te'o has turned down invitations from the NFL to attend the draft in New York on April 25, sources informed of his decision told ESPN. The first invite occurred when Te'o visited the league office for an awards banquet and another came earlier this month, according to sources.
McShay, in his latest mock draft, predicted Te'o will be the 32nd overall pick. Kiper's latest mock draft has the linebacker pegged as the 19th overall selection.
Despite his outstanding senior season at Notre Dame, Te'o has received intense scrutiny following his poor showing in the Discover BCS National Championship and the revelation in January that he was the focus of an elaborate hoax involving a fake girlfriend.
Te'o has already met with some NFL teams and has plans to meet with more. He said teams have different levels of interest in talking about how he was duped into having an online relationship with a fake girlfriend.
"Some guys just want to be brief on what happened. Some guys go into a little bit more depth. But overall, it's been a great opportunity, a great experience. It went better than I expected," he said.
Te'o said he had heard some stories about players being grilled by NFL management, but said that hasn't been what he's encountered. He said his message to them is he wants to focus being as a football player.
"I'm a football player, I made mistakes, but nothing that affected my play on the football field," he said.
He said teams haven't asked him about being an every-down player, saying they want to know how he went from having no interceptions in his first three seasons to picking off seven as a senior.
Te'o said the key was losing weight, understanding where he was supposed to be and studying film to learn opponents' tendencies.
Te'o was one of 14 Notre Dame players taking part in the pro day. Tight end Tyler Eifert, also considered a possible first-round pick, did not do any of the events he took part in at the combine, but did take part in position drills.
Te'o, who worked out with Eifert in Florida, thanked him for his support while news about his fake girlfriend broke, with Te'o appearing on Katie Couric's syndicated talk show and the man behind the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, being interviewed by Dr. Phil McGraw for the "Dr. Phil Show."
"I owe a debt to this guy. I was going through the hardest time in my life and I was lucky to have one of my best friends with me. This guy checked up on me every day," Te'o said.
Te'o also said that having his name called during the NFL draft will be a dream come true.
"Obviously, when that happens I'm going to be happy," he said. "That's just the first step to a very, very long journey."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.