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Manti Te’o calls hoax scrutiny ‘overwhelming, embarrassing’

Posted Feb 23, 2013 by Roy Cummings

Updated Feb 23, 2013 at 04:35 PM

Tribune Staff

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.  – Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o tried again on Saturday to outrun the scrutiny that has haunted him since it was first learned he had a relationship with a fake girlfriend but the media covering the NFL Scouting Combine caught up to him.

After first telling a gathering of more than 300 reporters that he had said all there was to say about the hoax, Te’o finally succumbed to the media’s persistence and said the entire ordeal was “overwhelming’’ at times and “definitely embarrassing.’’

“I could have done some things different to avoid all this stuff,’’ Te’o said. “I’m just very grateful for those who helped me get through that time.’’

Te’o, whose involvement in the hoax has left some NFL team executives to wonder if they can trust a player who continued to hide the truth about the hoax from his school, teammates and coaches even after he’d learned it, said the most difficult moment of the ordeal came when he received a call form his sister telling him their family had to sneak into its home to avoid the media scrutiny.

Te’O was once considered a potential top five selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, one who ESPN Draft expert Mel Kiper pegged as a possible pick for the Buccaneers at No. 13. His involvement in the scandal, however, has dropped his value and left him as a top-20 pick at best in the eyes of some scouts.

“Te’o should come off the board somewhere around 19 or 20,’’ said NFL Network and NBC Notre Dame broadcast analyst Mike Mayock. “People don’t’ love him the way they did before.’’

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