By Dan McNeil-
Two weeks from today, the water cooler is going to be enormously popular in work places all over the Chicago area. That’s where Bears fans will convene to debate general manager Phil Emery’s second crack at the first round of the NFL draft.
If ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper is right and the Bears choose Manti Te’o with the 20th pick, nobody will get any work done. No player in recent memory has created more of a stir leading up to a draft the way Te’o has.
And much of it for all the wrong reasons.
Te’o’s on-line relationship with a dying woman he claimed to love was a hoax. The Notre Dame linebacker was the victim of an elaborate, cruel prank, but Te’o made it worse by not being forthright. He continued to discuss his “loss” long after his phantom girlfriend passed away.
Speculation on Te’o’s sexuality ran wild, and the 22-year-old went on national television to tell Katie Couric he isn’t gay.
“Far from it,” he said, unwittingly subjecting himself to more scrutiny.
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