San Diego Chargers linebacker Manti Te’o helped teammate D.J. Fluker overcome a fear of drowning and taught him how to swim.
Te’o — the former Notre Dame Heisman Trophy candidate unfortunately known for having a fake girlfriend — played against Fluker, a former Alabama offensive tackle, in the BCS National Championship Game last January. Alabama won 42-14.
But they were drafted in April and they’re teammates now. So, Te’o helped Fluker overcome a childhood fear.
Last month, Te’o and Fluker attended the NFL Rookie Symposium in Aurora, Ohio.
Te’o was swimming laps during a workout. But the 340 lb. Fluker stood in the shallow end of the pool. He was too frightened to venture any deeper.
Fluker’s fear of drowning dates back 18 years to when he was just four years old. He sank to the bottom of a swimming pool. His mother jumped in to save him.
“I was terrified of water,” Fluker told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “He was like, ‘Man, relax. I got you.’ ”
Te’o held up Fluker in the pool as Fluker concentrated on buoyancy, kicking and moving his arms. He let him go and Fluker sank. But they worked as a team and kept trying. And now Fluker knows how to swim.
“Don’t ask me how to surf, though,” Te’o said. “I don’t know how to do that.”
Te’o is reportedly gaining the respect of his teammates at the Chargers training camp.
The fiasco over his fake girlfriend may be forgotten by the time the Charger’s play their first game of the preseason against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 8.