San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker Mati Te'o has begun the process of getting back on the football field. The first step to the ultimate goal was completed yesterday when Te'o removed the walking boot he has been using since injuring his foot during the first week of the pre-season. Mike Florio of NBC Sports has reported Chargers head coach Mike McCoy isn't ruling Te'o out for the team's regular season opener.
“I’m not ruling anything out,” McCoy said. ”It’s going to be up to how his body recovers before the game on Monday night. We’ll take it one day at a time. When he is out there we’ll see how he is feeling. He knows his body better than anyone so we will just take it one day at a time.”
Te'o, a former Heisman Trophy finalist, captured the hearts of America by playing the game of his life less than a week after he lost both his grandmother and girlfriend. Te'o went on to win many major post-season defensive awards while leading Notre Dame to the National Championship game.
Struggling against Alabama's top tier offense many began to question if Te'o could perform at a high level in the NFL. A bad game proved to be the least of Manti's problems as news leaked the girlfriend that had died earlier in the season never existed. Te'o was caught in a scam that many Americans could also fall victim too. Finally the NFL combine came and Manti could get back to doing what he does best play football, oh if it was that easy he struggled running a less than impressive 4.82 40 yard dash. Manti's struggles led to him falling into the second round of the 2013 NFL draft.
Insert Mike McCoy and the San Diego Chargers who have been impressed by Te'o since day one. He has not only taken all of the criticism in stride but he has shown the Chargers that there in one thing he can do very well and that's play football. The natural instincts Te'o posses can't be taught and he has already drawn comparison to former Charger great Junior Seau. With fellow second year linebacker Melvin Ingram being placed on the PUP list, the Chargers are looking for Te'o to make an immediate impact along side veteran free agent addition Dwight Freeney. If early indications are correct we will be talking about Te'o as one of the leagues best linebackers for years to come.
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