Manti Te’o will begin to face some real scrutiny in about 24 hours when the NFL Scouting Combine begins on Wednesday. Te’o will face questions from scouts and coaches about his ability to lead.
He will get looks and doubt from the other 200 plus players there who will all wonder how and why such a thing happened to him.
On the eve of all that, Te’o spoke with USA Today and simply wants to be judged on his football credentials, not his personal life.
Te’o says that the fake girlfriend story should not detract from what he did on the field.
“I have to just go out there and perform and all that other stuff is behind me,” he told USA TODAY Sports between workouts at IMG Academy Monday. “What I did on the field is what I did on the field. I don’t think what I did with this whole situation, I don’t understand how it takes away from what I did on the field.
“As far as my stock dropping or rising, that’s not up to me. The only thing I have to do is just do well, run fast, just be myself, be quick.”
Te’o says he shut down his Twitter account Feb. 5, and admits he’s not sure if he’s going to return to social media.
“It’s been a distraction for me,” he said, “so I needed to get rid of it.”
Te’o still maintains he was the victim of a catfish, and acknowledged he learned a lot from it.
“No, just be more honest,” he said. “I didn’t do anything illegal. I didn’t break any rules, I didn’t hurt anybody. I just wasn’t very forthcoming, as forthcoming as I should have been but in that, I didn’t do anything wrong.
“I have to just be myself. For me, the greatest fault would be to tell somebody something I’m not.
“And when it’s time to do the interviews, just be myself and everything will fall into place.”