SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o ended a trying three months by putting up a respectable 40-yard dash time Tuesday.
“I thought I did pretty good,” Te’o said after his pro day workout in front of scouts from 27 of 32 NFL teams. “I’m very pleased with the way that I performed.”
Some had expressed concern whether Te’o could be an every-down back in the NFL after he was timed at 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis.
But he was timed at 4.69 seconds at Notre Dame’s indoor practice facility, attributing the improvement to being more comfortable at home and around friends.
Te’o is hoping to be picked in the first round of next month’s NFL draft.
He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times and ran the 60-yard shuttle in 11.78 seconds while letting his other performances at the combine stand.
The Heisman Trophy runner-up had an off game in the BCS championship game against Alabama in January.
He then came under scrutiny after it was revealed he fell in love online with a woman who didn’t exist and then had the disappointing time at the combine. His performance Tuesday came as a relief.
“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.”
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.
“I’m a football player, I made mistakes, but nothing that affected my play on the football field,” he said.
Te’o was one of 14 Notre Dame players taking part in the pro day. Tight end Tyler Eifert did not do events he took part in at the combine, but did doin position drills.