This year has been filled with many ups and downs for Notre Dame linebacker, Manti Te'o. From his contributions to Notre Dame's successful year, to entering the NFL Draft, to his recent scandal, Te'o has found himself under a microscope of observation and analysis. Bill Polian, former president of the Indianapolis Colts, evaluates the situation as it relates to the NFL and the upcoming draft in April.
Early on in the season, Manti Te'o was hit with the difficult news that his grandmother had passed away. The same day, Te'o was informed that his girlfriend had lost her battle with leukemia. Manti's losses inspired him just as Chuck Pagano's Diagnosis motivated the Colts to win. In a year of uplifting stories of success, news of Manti's story touched the hearts of football fans everywhere.
It was later discovered by Te'o that there was no death certificate for his alleged girlfriend, Lennay Kekua. In late December, Te'o informed Notre Dame coaches that he had become a victim of an elaborate hoax. Apparently, Kekua was a fictitious persona created to fool Te'o.
It is uncertain whether or not Manti Te'o is truly the victim of an intricate scheme or a dishonest athlete looking for publicity. His story is currently being investigated to determine whether or not Te'o played a part in the deception.
If it is determined that Te'o is being dishonest about the scandal, his character will go into question. As a young football player entering the NFL draft this year, this could have a negative impact on his worth to teams throughout the league.
In an interview with ESPN , Polian said "its unfortunate, but its not uncommon. Its a bizarre story but there are players in every draft that have situations such as this that need to be examined and as a matter of course they generally are."
Polian does not believe the situation should raise a red flag in the eyes of NFL teams if Manti's version of the story is true. In fact, he feels as if Te'o is a man of good character who was manipulated as many players have been before.
"He is an outstanding individual. He's a wonderful family person. Clearly you saw that he's a great football player" Polian said of Te'o.
To NFL teams interested in Te'o, Polian's advice is to seek legal advice on privacy issues. It is up to Te'o and his representation how much information will be disclosed to the NFL. In this circumstance, especially if Te'o is being honest, his agents will likely be upfront and forthcoming with information.
"One thing is for certain, however, this now has gone from a scouting issue to a club management issue" says Polian.
To avoid legal repercussions the teams who pursue Te'o will want to be careful to remain closed-lipped about the details. Polian feels the NFL will handle the Te'o Hoax as it handles any other personnel scandal.
"Its not uncommon. Players have these kinds of situations every year. And very confidentially, very quietly the NFL works through it and the clubs get the answers they want."
The information uncovered within the investigations currently taking place will likely weigh in on decisions of Manti's draft status. Like many other teams, the Colts will likely evaluate the results to determine his worth to their organization going forward.
As many fans know, the Colts have been blessed with a high class of players and personnel Very rarely will you hear of a Colt involved in a major scandal. Will the Colts continue to look at Te'o as a viable option as they prepare for the draft? Stay tuned to find out.