(CBS) After a tumultuous month and a half, Manti Te’o is turning his attention back to football this weekend at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
The 40-yard dash will be important for Te’o as he tries to supplant himself as a potential first-round draft pick, but no matter how well he runs, the linebacker won’t be able to completely run away from the infamous fake girlfriend hoax.
Every team has the opportunity to interview any player at the combine and for the Bears, their meeting with the former Notre Dame star is expected to happen Friday. Without mentioning him by name, Bears general manager Phil Emery acknowledged the team’s anticipated meeting with Te’o, who the team could eye to replace Brian Urlacher at middle linebacker.
“This will be my 16th draft, every individual is unique,” Emery said Thursday in Indianapolis. “Believe me, there are unique stories across every college class. So, is that unique? No. That is a situation and issue that has to be dealt with and worked through. Obviously, at some point we will sit down and talk to the player about it and see where he is at on it.”
Still, a fake girlfriend hoax isn’t exactly a common controversy attached to potential draft picks. Te’o was lauded for his leadership at Notre Dame, but he wasn’t exactly forthcoming in acknowledging he never actually met his “girlfriend” when media across the country were running with the story of her death and its impact on the linebacker.
“That situation, as far as somebody having something that is different than what has happened to other people, I would say that is true with a good portion of this college class,” Emery said. “Everyone, each individual is going to be unique and they’re going to have their own unique situations with their family that they have had to deal with, off the field, on the field, situations that come up in life. It’s about how they handle it. Can they still produce and be a productive member of your team?”
Te’o’s on-field workouts won’t actually take place until Monday. Linebackers go through registration on Friday, measurements on Saturday, meetings, psychological testing and bench press on Sunday and then workouts on Monday.