New Charger Manti Te’o says first-round snub will ‘‘put a huge fire under my butt.’’
BY ADAM L. JAHNS email@example.com April 26, 2013 10:24PM
Manti Te'o, Brian Kelly
Updated: May 30, 2013 2:38PM
After a day of nothing but disappointment, Manti Te’o finally came off the board.
And he’s off to southern California.
After not getting drafted in the first round, Te’o, Notre Dame’s scrutinized middle linebacker, was taken by the San Diego Chargers with the No. 38 selection. The Chargers actually made a move with the Arizona Cardinals to move up from the No. 45 spot to grab him.
Te’o was widely projected to go in the first round. Many anticipated that the Bears or the Minnesota Vikings would take him in the first round. But both passed on Te’o, whose draft stock tumbled after his poor showing in the national championship and the fake girlfriend hoax.
Te’o said on a conference call that falling out of the first round “definitely put a huge fire under my butt to be better.” He’s projected to be a starter in their 3-4 scheme.
“I’m excited to play football,” Te’o said. “I can’t control what people say. Honestly, I don’t really pay too much attention to that. I came here to play football. That’s all I want to do is play football and take care of my family, and that’s exactly what I’m going to do.”
The Bears didn’t have a third-round pick this year and general manager Phil Emery had hoped to add one, if possible, but the cost proved to be too much.
“It would be awfully expensive,” Emery said. “We [didn’t] have enough value in the current picks that we still have to get into that round. The only way we could do it would be to give up a next year’s (second round pick) and that right now does not make sense to us.”
Emery said there was “a number of trades where teams didn’t get equal value.”
“I don’t have any explanation for that,” Emery said. “I will tell you the Chicago Bears are probably not ever going to be one of those teams. If you’re going to trade with us, you are going to come up with equal value, especially if you are coming up to get our pick.”
News and a note
The biggest news on Friday may have been the Green Bay Packers extending quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ contract.
Rodgers received a five-year extension reportedly worth $110 million, making him the NFL’s highest paid player. He will reportedly make $40 million in 2013.
◆ The Indianapolis Colts selected Illinois guard Hugh Thornton in the third round (86th overall). He was first Illini player selected in the draft.