New York Giants general manager Jerry Reese is not ruling out the possibility of the team drafting Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. Even with the controversy surrounding Te'o and his online girlfriend, Reese says the team is considering all options:
“We’re more interested in what kind of football player he is than anything else,” said Reese, who owns the 19th pick in the first round. “These things, I think they get blown out of proportion a little bit. But we’ll investigate it, and we’ll see how it goes.” (ESPN.com)
Te'o claims he is the victim of an online scam known as "catfishing". His supposed girlfriend, whom he never met face to face, allegedly died from leukemia. The event put Te'o in the spotlight and when it surfaced that his girlfriend was imaginary, a huge controversy erupted. How did Te'o not know this was a hoax? How much sense can a player have if he's so easily duped into believing such a hoax? Did he know about it all along in order to have a light shined on him?
Manti Te'o saw a flock of reporters on Saturday in what was the most anticipated news conference of the 2013 NFL Combine. Te'o fielded questions all morning about the hoax. When it was over, Te'o said:
“I’ve answered everything I could. I’d really like to talk about football.”
The Giants haven't drafted a linebacker in the first round since 1984 with Carl Banks. Since then, the highest pick has been grabbing Clint Sintim in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. However, Te'o is the Heisman Trophy runner up and considered one of the best linebackers in the draft. Reese and the Giants will lean on their scouts for information on how Te'o performs on the field, and they plan to look into social media outlets on any player they consider.
“We look at that stuff,” Reese said. “But again, I think you can have too much information. You talk yourself out of good players because of what somebody said on Twitter and what somebody said on Facebook."
“We put it all in the hopper,” Reese said. “And we come out with, 'This is what this guy is. This is where we think he should be on our board. Will we take him if he’s at a certain position for us?' Just like everybody else. His situation is no different than it is for anybody else.”
The Giants have the right attitude in addressing this situation. Treat the player as any other possible draftee, ask the same questions, look at the same statistics. He may have gotten taken up in a hoax, which definitely hurt his credibility, but that does not diminish what he is capable of achieving on the field. Te'o will no doubt make an impact on whichever team ends up drafting him, which could b the Giants and the 19th pick. Reese seems to have very few concerns about the catfish scam and the impact that will have on Te'o's ability to perform on the field, or how it will affect his off-the-field actions.
Also…2013 NFL Combine, catfishing, Football, Jerry Reese, linebacker, Manti Te'o, New York, New York Giants, NFL, NFL Draft