The NFL is anxious to see how Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o – not in a 1-on-1 network setting – handles media when he becomes the spotlight at the Scouting Combine on Saturday.
“We’re going to find out if he can handle the media or not. I’m sure he’s going to be up at this podium one day and people will have some questions for him,” Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said. “But he’s getting a lot of experience in handling the media scrutiny per se. We’ll have him in our room. We’re going to spend a lot of time with him because he’s a very talented prospect. People have asked why he didn’t play so good in the Alabama game. I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m sure there will be a lot of questions thrown his way. But from the view of the overall big picture, he is a very talented football player.”
Te’o, of course, is in the spotlight for the off-the-field story about his imaginary girlfriend and the hoax that she died during last college season. He’s had ample time to rehearse what he will say to inquiring teams as well as inquisitive reporters. Spielman said he wants to see how Te’o handles both groups.
“We’ll watch that. I think that’s a very valuable part of the process in handling media when they have to talk in front of you guys,” Spielman said. “It’s not a be-all, end-all decision-maker, but we can tell if this guy needs some polish or technique if we do draft this guy on how to handle the media. Or this guy is pretty polished.
“One thing we’ve done this year, too, is we’ve done a lot of digging on social media and have a pretty in-depth picture of these players that are involved or not involved in social media, how many times they tweet or twit – I don’t know the technical; I’m not a technical guy. But it’s interesting to see the patterns on some of these social media players as well.”
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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune