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After long wait, Te’o lands in San Diego with 38th pick

Apr 27, 2013, 4:04 AM EDT

Te'o Victory Stanford

The waiting is finally over for Notre Dame All-American Manti Te’o, who was selected by the San Diego Chargers with the sixth pick of the second round. For Te’o, it’s a silver lining landing spot after a disappointing slide dropped him out of the first round.

The former Irish linebacker heads to San Diego, about as good of a fit as he could have ever asked. On the field, there’s an open job at inside linebacker in the same 3-4 system he’s run the past few years in South Bend. Off the field, there’s the chance to follow in the footsteps of his hero Junior Seau, and play in a geographic location as close to home as possible.

Te’o spoke with Chargers.com after the selection and was his usual humble-yet-confident self, talking about the motivation that comes along with a draft day slide.

“It’s great motivation for me to go out there and just get better, and that’s what I intend to do,” Te’o said.

Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel caught up with Brian Kelly on Friday, and discussed Te’o’s mindset heading into the draft’s second round. As an Irish fan would expect, Te’o was far from crestfallen, and kept the positive attitude that he’s managed to carry with him for the past four years.

“We’ve become so close, it’s like your own kid going through it,” Kelly told Wetzel on Friday.

So on Friday morning, after the first-round draft snub brought the latest humiliation in what felt like an endless run of embarrassment for a player who otherwise is known as hardworking, dutiful, caring and talented, Kelly decided to call Manti.

“I called to cheer him up, but he wound up cheering me up,” Kelly said. “He was like, ‘Coach, I’ll be fine, I’ll get through this.’ It turns out the call was more for me than him.”

While Te’o has been the focus of most mainstream draft coverage, it’s worth mentioning that West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith fell to one spot below Te’o. Eddie Lacy, the Alabama running back that did so much damage to Te’o’s on-field reputation, slide deeper into the draft as well, taken behind Big Ten running backs LeVeon Bell and Montee Ball. The presumed No. 1 pick in the draft heading into the season, USC’s Matt Barkley still hasn’t heard his name called.

With that in mind, it’s a nice end to an eventful first chapter of Manti Te’o’s football story. And after a turbulent few months, it gives Te’o the chance to just go back to being a football player, and doing so with a franchise that’s excited to have him.

For Irish fans, it also ends one of the most impressive individual careers in school history. Since walking onto campus as one of Charlie Weis’ signature recruits, Te’o led the Irish through a coaching transition and capped off his stellar career with a senior season for the ages.

With all the tabloid attention that’s followed him since playing his final game in an Irish uniform, Kelly put Te’o’s career at Notre Dame into perspective, something that’s clearly been lost for many over the past few months.

“Manti Te’o is a once-in-a-generation type kid,” Kelly said in a statement. “I’ve not been associated with a better player, leader and man in my tenure as a college football coach. He possesses all the instincts and talents necessary to be a top-flight NFL linebacker and the San Diego Chargers are fortunate to add his services.”

  1. cvilleirish - Apr 27, 2013 at 4:12 AM

    Congratulations Manti. Thank you for all that you gave to Our Lady’s University. We look forward to watching you play on Sundays. Go Irish.

  2. 11thstreetmafia - Apr 27, 2013 at 5:00 AM

    I’ll miss watching Manti in SB on Saturdays. What a player! I can’t wait to see him on Sundays.

  3. aceinthehole12 - Apr 27, 2013 at 6:10 AM

    Can’t wait to watch this young man play on Sundays. I hope he shuts ALL of his critics up.

  4. yaketyyacc - Apr 27, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    we certainly applaud Manti and Tylers next step up. we also applaud the players on the 2013 Irish Football team that are also stepping up to fill the shoes of two very good players.
    success is measured by how much of the talent one is blessed with, is used. Stagnation saps talent and weakens success. Good luck to all of you fine young Notre dame men!

  5. almoose - Apr 27, 2013 at 9:51 AM

    I love the School! The kids and the players bring fun and excitement each year. I am a person that lives in the present and would like to put 5% of last year behind us. I would prefer if the past year clips would be archived and only a fresh face for the school be put forward. I understand reporting on kids that make the pros and am good with that. I do think that we can learn from last year and showcase all the players each week with some emphasis on those who just go get it done each week. The heroes are made through the work of all and I hope Coach Kelly will consider this for the coming year. If it seems a little too good to be true then leave it alone. Good luck to the team and Go Irish!

  6. barneysbullet - Apr 27, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    Thanks for the memories Manti…wish you could have been Irish MLB forever.

    Tear it up in San Diego!!!!!

  7. dickasman - Apr 27, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Couldn’t have asked for a better landing albeit too close for comfort near lennay.

    • jimpy49 - Apr 27, 2013 at 9:11 PM

      dicasman – you are a d-bag. Way out of line to a guy who has been nothing but class.

      Jimpy49

    • ndirish10 - Apr 28, 2013 at 11:36 PM

      di…,

      You were so close to not being a prick…7 words kept your d-bag streak intact.

  8. 25kgold - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    Manti is the man! He’s solidified as one of my top five Irish players of all time!

    On another front–what must an individual do when a QB from a hated rival (USC) gets drafted to your pro team (Philadelphia)?

    To be continued…

    • papadec - Apr 27, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      gold – you do the same thing as when their HC becomes your NFL HC in Seattle – puke, rinse your mouth out with a good stiff drink, and go on living.

  9. padomer - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    hey man, if i thought i was talkin to that picture on lennay’s account, I’d still be roaming the streets of Honululu in pursuit of her. All joking aside, it doesn’t matter if Jarrett Grace triples Manti’s numbers this year, It still won’t be the same without number 5.

    P.S. Dick, to expand, my thoughts exactly. Good thing he didn’t land in Dallas, or NY Jets or any other sinking ship media darling. In San Diego, he doesn’t have to be Mike Singletary from day 1.

  10. 25kgold - Apr 27, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    http://www.nfl.com/videos/auto/0ap2000000164440/Brian-Kelly-talks-about-Te-o-going-to-San-Diego

  11. harvupdyke - Apr 27, 2013 at 10:52 PM

    With Sandusky behind bars, I’m sure he’ll be scouting out all the elementary schools handing out ice cream bars…

    Roll dam tide.

    • fighting69th - Apr 28, 2013 at 9:37 PM

      Wut…

    • runners00 - Apr 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM

      Yeah, and how many of the Crimson Tide are actually out of jail these days (and not on parole)?

  12. harvupdyke - Apr 27, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    & what’s with you Irish fairies saying “congratulations & thanks for all you’ve done for us”??? Do u really think he reads that shit? That’s the gayest ever…fruitcakes.

    Then again, a guy so concerned with social media might. Especially that weasel.

    Roll dam tide.

    • papadec - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:09 AM

      there’s the harv we love to hate – weekend furlough?

    • dillonbigred - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:14 AM

      Typical classless Bama trash.

  13. cvilleirish - Apr 28, 2013 at 12:46 PM

    Harvey, you certainly are a bitter national champion. Why all the anger?

  14. letafan4ever - Apr 28, 2013 at 6:07 PM

    Congrats to Manti and all the players who got drafted. DJFluker is now Manti’s teammate. Seems like a nice guy. Vicious on the field but very jovial and fun off the field.
    Phillip Rivers and other team mates welcomed him to the Team.

    Love all the interviews I’ve seen. Seems like a Great coach, general manager and Presss.

    Seems as though Manti handled the Press conference well and was treated professionally!!

  15. almoose - Apr 29, 2013 at 8:20 AM

    To those who monitor this page and or the comments sections. I am all for the expression of opinion on the Current and past games and players. I am not, and I ask the School to eliminate the profane and outlandish comments from this page. ND is just above letting the comments seen to exist with the profane expressions. Pleas fix it NOW! Most have class that post!

    • ibleedirish - Apr 29, 2013 at 9:43 AM

      The school has nothing to do with this page man. If you don’t like it, don’t read it.

  16. almoose - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:27 PM

    To the ibleedirish comment. My take is valid. Doubt that you or those using the low class responses have went past High School much less are they from ND. So to this end I don’t have to read ignorance nor do I think those from a Class School such as ND do either. So let the ignorant comment in a negative way with the language used!

    • ibleedirish - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:43 PM

      You are correct, you don’t have to read “ignorance”. My point is exactly that. Don’t read it. I’m sure you are a capable enough person that you don’t need big brother to censor anything for you.

      You are incorrect in that the school has nothing to do with this site. Its not Notre Dame’s responsibility to police this board as you suggested. That’s just silly.

      Lastly, judging from your poorly articulated thoughts, incorrectly capitalized words and poor grammar, I highly doubt you have as much schooling as you imply. But since you brought it up, I’ll gladly put my post-grad piece of paper up against yours any day. Maybe we should get out a tape measure while we’re at it?

      • almoose - Apr 30, 2013 at 4:59 PM

        Use a tape measure really? Grow up Pal and try to use a thought process. Your degree has to be from a Degree Mill! Try to articulate a position not using emotion rather your brain to do so. Cursing and insults on a Blog to discuss a great School just poor!

      • ibleedirish - Apr 30, 2013 at 5:21 PM

        Its. Called. A. Joke. You know, like poking fun at both of us for going back and forth over something so stupid?

        Let me remind you, you were the first to fling insults about level of education around…..Pal. And show me an example of where I cursed?

        Serious question; Why do you capitalize things like Degree Mill, Blog, Pal and School. Its not just incorrect, its weird.

        Keep it real moosey. I wish you no harm.

  17. almoose - Apr 30, 2013 at 12:41 PM

    No profanity needed here!

    Dear Lord,

    In the struggle that goes on through life

    we ask for a field that is fair,

    a chance that is equal with all the strife,

    the courage to strive and to dare;

    and if we should win, let it be by the code,

    with our faith and our honor held high;

    and if we should lose, let us stand by the road

    and cheer as the winners go by.
    Knute Rockne (1888-1931)
    Coach and Educator

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