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Wed, Dec 11, 2013 at 6:38 AM

Te'o says he's ignored flak over girlfriend hoax

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP)n
Manti Te'o says his rough rookie season has nothing to do withn
the flak he's faced over getting fooled by a hoax involving a faken
girlfriend while at Notre Dame.n
The San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker said in his firstn
conference call of the season Tuesday that he has yet to play an
complete game in the NFL but that's because of his adjustment ton
the pros and not because he's distracted in any way by the catcallsn
from opposing teams or their fans.n
Te'o said he does a good job blocking out the chatter from then
stands.n
''I've definitely heard things, but my job is to go out theren
and to play ball and do my best and hopefully come out with a win.n
So, all the other outside stuff, if I'm paying attention to that,n
then I'm in trouble,'' Te'o said. ''But that's what fans do. Theyn
love their team. They're passionate about their team, so it'sn
nothing that I didn't expect.''n
Te'o said he hasn't really caught much grief from opposingn
players.n
''I haven't really run into any of that. I think as players wen
understand that we're all in the same situation. We're all here ton
play ball and we're here as football players, we're trying ton
provide a life for our families and that's about it,'' Te'on
said.n
''When we step on the football field, it's all about footballn
and competing. So, I haven't really run into any of thatn
stuff.''n
Yet, when asked a follow-up question about opponents trying ton
get under his skin, he did acknowledge that they sometimes bring upn
the issue.n
''But to be honest, I'm so locked into the game that basically In
don't really catch it,'' he said. ''And at this point, it doesn'tn
really bother me. So, it's no big deal, really.''n
Te'o was an All-American linebacker whose draft stock fell aftern
his poor showing in the BCS championship game against Alabama andn
once the hoax was revealed as front office personnel wondered ifn
he'd be mentally tough enough to handle the grief he'd face overn
the girlfriend hoax.n
The Chargers selected him in the second round of the draft, butn
his development was slowed by a sprained right foot in trainingn
camp and he was inactive for the Chargers' first three games.n
Since then, he's been steady, collecting 69 tackles and breakingn
up four passes while playing inside linebacker next to Donaldn
Butler.n
Chargers coach Mike McCoy said Te'o is facing the usual growingn
pains a rookie experiences but ''each week he's gotten a little bitn
better.''n
Te'o, however, has yet to record an interception or a sack orn
really have a big impact on a game for the Chargers (6-7), whon
visit the Broncos (11-2) Thursday night.n
''I still haven't had a complete game yet,'' Te'o said. ''I'ven
felt the most growth I would have to say the Kansas City game (onn
Nov. 24). There was a different feel to that game, I wasn
comfortable to a level where I could just move. ... I'm lookingn
forward to a time when I can have that complete game and I'mn
constantly working to do that.''n
---n
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.orgn
---n
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton onn
Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapletonn

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