Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Manti Te'o press conference draws media swarm at NFL Combine

Posted by: under Super Bowl Updated: February 23, 2013 - 2:41 PM

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o generated quite a media crush at the NFL Combine this afternoon, participating in his first press conference since word of the now infamous Lennay Kekua fake girlfriend hoax broke last month.

It was no surprise that Reporters and TV cameras swarmed around Podium C at Lucas Oil Stadium as Te’o held a q-and-a session that lasted 14 minutes, 35 seconds.

We’ll have much more on Te’o’s brief appearance and his overall draft status as our combine continues. For now, here is most of what he had to say during Saturday’s presser:

On what explanations he can provide as to how the whole hoax developed and affected him …

“About the incident, I’ve said all I needed to say about that. How I’m handling it going forward has been what I’m doing now. I’m focusing on the moment and focusing on football and the combine. Not everybody gets this opportunity to be here. I’m sure there are thousands and thousands of people who would like to be here in Indianapolis. So I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.”

On how much he’s been asked about the hoax in interviews with NFL teams …

“Quite a few teams have asked me about it. Some go to certain lengths. Some just ask me, ‘Give me a brief overview of how it was.’ And then they get straight to business about football.”

On why he played poorly in the BCS title game against Alabama …

“Because I didn’t. That’s all on me. That’s something that, I played hard and so did my team. But Alabama had a great game plan. And so did we. It’s just they executed it better than we did.”

On whether the hoax was a distraction during the national championship game …


On whether any teams hadn’t asked him about the hoax …

"No. They’ve all asked me about it. Just, ‘Tell me the facts.’ They want to hear it from me. So I just want to tell them basically what happened."

On the summary he’s able to give teams when they ask …

“I cared for somebody. And that’s what I was taught to do. Ever since I was young. When somebody needs help. You help them out. Unfortunately it didn’t end up the way I thought it would.”

On why he waited so long to speak up publicly after details of the hoax broke …

“It was just a whirlwind of stuff. For me, a 22-year-old, a 21-year-old at that time, you’re just trying to get your thoughts right. Everything’s just kind of chaos for a little bit. So you let that chaos down and wait until everybody’s willing to listen.”

On whether he understands the people who doubt his version of events because it took him so long to provide his version of the story …

“That I don’t know. People doubting because I took a while to come out? From our point of view, we wanted to let everything come out first and then have my side come out. So the way that we did it I felt worked best for me. And I’m just very grateful for those who helped me to get through that time. Because I think it went over as smoothly as it could.”

On whether NFL people have indicated that this will impact his draft stock …

“No. Not really. They’ve told me that they all just want to hear it from me what the truth was. And they haven’t really said anything about it affecting me. Some guys we just talk briefly and I describe it for 30 seconds and the next 14 minutes is all plays and just getting down to business. That’s how I prefer it to be.”

On whether he worries about how he’ll be treated inside an NFL locker room …

“No. I think I’ve learned the difference between the things I can control and the things I can’t control. And hopefully by doing the things I can control, I’ll have more favor in the other category. But whatever team I go to, I’m just going to be me and work hard and just do my best to help the team win and whatever happens happens.”

On whether he’s been surprised by the media fascination in his saga …

“It’s pretty crazy. I’ve been in front of a few cameras. But not as many as this.”

On the initial tsunami of attention the controversy attracted …

“It got overwhelming at times. I think the hardest part, and I’ve said this, is just to see not necessarily my first name, but it’s my last name. Everybody here, you treasure your last name. That’s what you hold dear. That’s something when you pass on, the only thing that stays with you, that stays here is your last name. So to see my last name everywhere and to know that I represented my family and all my cousins and aunties and that was hard.”

On whether he’s prepared to deal with this heavy volume of media attention …

“Oh, yeah. For me, hopefully I’m just looking forward to getting ready and getting straight to football. I understand people have questions. But I think I’ve answered everything I could. And for me, I’d really like to talk about football.”

On what he tells team as a football player …

“I think what I bring to the table is a lot of heart, a lot of energy and I’m somebody who works hard. Somebody who hates to lose. And I’ve always said I hate losing more than I love to win. And the reason I love to win is because I don’t have to go through that feeling of losing. So it’s those times that I lose where that feeling will stick with me. And so for the teams I just told them you’ll always get somebody who’s humble, works hard, doesn’t say much but will do everything it takes to win.”

On whether he has any lingering regret about the controversy …

“I could have done some things different. I could have done a lot of things different to avoid all this stuff. But throughout my experience my senior year, I wouldn’t do anything differently.”

On whether this has all been an embarrassing experience …

“Oh, definitely. Anybody to go through [this], it’s definitely embarrassing. You’re walking through a grocery store and you kind of like give people double takes to see if they’re staring at you. It’s definitely embarrassing. And I guess it’s part of the process, part of the journey. But you know what? It’s only going to make me stronger. And it definitely has.”

On whether he’s past the point of embarrassment now …

“Definitely. It definitely has gone. Obviously I’m here. If I was still embarrassed I wouldn’t be standing here in front of you.”

On whether he understands what NFL teams are looking for when they ask about the hoax …

“They want to be able to trust their player. You don’t want to invest in somebody who you can’t trust. So, with everybody here, they’re just trying to get to know you. And they’re trying to get to know you as a person and as a football player. I understand where they’re coming from.”

On whether he has a hurdle to get over in the honesty department …

“It could be a hurdle. But it could also be a great opportunity to show who you really are. That’s the way I have to approach this. It’s been a great learning experience for me.”

On possibly being drafted by the Super Bowl champion Ravens as a replacement for Ray Lewis …

“Ray Lewis, I’ve grown up watching Ray Lewis. Just watching his intensity, his passion for the game, his love for the game, his work ethic. Everything in a linebacker that you want to be is in Ray Lewis from leadership qualities on. All that. He’ll be definitely missed in Baltimore and in the NFL as a whole. But if I get to go to Baltimore, there will definitely be big shoes to fill. But an opportunity that I’ll be honored to have.”

On how he has changed from all that has happened …

“For me, I’ve learned, first to be honest in anything you do. And everything. From the big things to the small things. And to keep your circle very small. And to really understand who’s really in your corner and who’s not. I think going off the season that my team and I had, there were a lot of people in our corner. And then when Jan. 16 happened, there was a lot of people in the other corner. So I just learned to appreciate the people that I have that are with me and to just make sure that you always try to turn a negative thing into a positive.”

On the toughest moment of the past few months …

“I think the toughest moment to be honest with you was a phone call that I got from my sister. She told me that she had to sneak my own family in their home. Because there were people parked out in their yard. And that had to be the hardest part. And for me, something that I’ve always had problems with is when I can’t do something about it. When I can’t help. So to know that my family was in this situation because of the actions that I committed was definitely the hardest part for me.”

On the challenges he’ll face as a player at the next level …

“Obviously the game just gets even faster. It gets a lot more complex. But I think what I have to do as a player is remember why I’m playing this game, It’s still the same game I played when I was a little kid, on the streets. Same thing. The football is still the same shape. Obviously people are going to be professionals. This is where the best play. But as long as I don’t stray too far from who I am and what I believe in, I think the journey will be worth it.”

On moving past the hoax controversy as he transitions to the NFL …

“Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody makes mistakes. And one of the positive things about what I went through is I’ve learned to empathize with those who are going through the same thing, those who are going through some hard times, who are getting attention that they don’t necessarily want. And it just taught me, from going through that, to always just give somebody the benefit of the doubt and just say, You never know. You never know what’s going on with a person.”

On whether he considered taking legal action the hoax perpetrator Ronaiah Tuiasosopo …

“No. I think that’s the worst thing you could do. Both families are going through chaos. There’s no need. People camped out at my house. There’s people camped out at his house. So I went through what I went through and he went through his own share of stuff. So I think that’s the worst thing for me to do is to do that. Always try to forgive. If you forgive, you’ll get the majority of the blessings. So I always try to forgive and it’s definitely benefited me.”

On his emotions when he got that phone call from his sister …

“It’s just why. Just why. It should never get that way. I think as people we have to realize that we’re all people. Somebody is somebody’s son. Somebody is somebody’s daughter. And I try to picture it that way. Would you want somebody doing that to your son? Would you want somebody doing that to your daughter? If not, why do it? So through this whole experience, I’ve learned that. And since I’ve experienced it, the things I see, the things I do, I try to always think that’s somebody’s son, that’s somebody’s daughter, somebody’s mom or dad. And whatever I do, try to base whatever I do off that.”


Detroit 95 FINAL
Washington 99
Atlanta 93 FINAL
Miami 91
Toronto 98 FINAL
New York 103
Memphis 101 FINAL
Minnesota 97
Brooklyn 104 FINAL
Dallas 94
Milwaukee 75 FINAL
Utah 82
San Antonio 101 FINAL
Phoenix 74
Buffalo 3 FINAL
Florida 5
Detroit 4 FINAL
Nashville 3
Carolina 5 FINAL
NY Islanders 3
New Jersey 2 FINAL
Columbus 0
Arizona 1 FINAL
Boston 4
Toronto 0 FINAL
Montreal 4
NY Rangers 2 FINAL
Philadelphia 4
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Colorado 1
St. Louis 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Ottawa 4 FINAL
San Jose 2
Kennesaw St 75 FINAL
Lipscomb 94
Navy 57 FINAL
Loyola-Maryland 47
Bucknell 71 FINAL
American Univ 69
NC State 63 FINAL
Boston College 79
East Carolina 71 FINAL
UCF 66
Georgia Tech 63 FINAL
Clemson 70
Lehigh 55 FINAL
Colgate 61
Louisville 81 FINAL
Florida State 59
Missouri 44 FINAL
Georgia 68
Army 64 FINAL
Lafayette 74
Michigan 56 FINAL
Maryland 66
Georgetown 70 FINAL
St Johns 81
Rhode Island 59 FINAL
La Salle 56
Western Carolina 67 FINAL
Citadel 54
Nebraska Omaha 87 FINAL
Maine 56 FINAL
New Hampshire 65
Samford 80 FINAL
Va Military 69
Presbyterian 53 FINAL
Winthrop 80
Utah State 74 FINAL
Air Force 60
Vermont 73 FINAL
Albany 79
Binghamton 76
Indiana State 60 FINAL
Bradley 52
Butler 67 FINAL
DePaul 53
Illinois State 69 FINAL
Evansville 67
Wright State 46 FINAL
Ill-Chicago 61
Fla Gulf Coast 67 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Ole Miss 63 FINAL
LSU 73
North Carolina 73 FINAL
Miami-Florida 64
Wagner 64 FINAL
Mount St Marys 74
Oklahoma 67
Delaware 65 FINAL
Towson 60
Cincinnati 63 FINAL
Tulane 47
Dayton 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 55
Northern Iowa 60 FINAL
Wichita State 74
Drexel 80 FINAL
William & Mary 66
Oakland 63 FINAL
Green Bay 83
Villanova 78 FINAL
Xavier 66
Campbell 65 FINAL
Longwood 70
Sarah Lawrence 55 FINAL
Middle Tennessee 95 FINAL
UAB 100
UNC-Asheville 95 FINAL
Liberty 77
Southern Utah 71 FINAL
North Dakota 65
Utah Valley U 44 FINAL
Chicago State 65
Appalachian St 66
Bowling Green 62 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 57
Long Island 73 FINAL
Sacred Heart 84
West Virginia 66 FINAL
Baylor 78
Holy Cross 77 FINAL
Boston Univ 70
MD-Eastern Shore 69 FINAL
Delaware State 65
Wofford 62 FINAL
Furman 60
Montana State 73 FINAL
Idaho 80
Hofstra 73 FINAL
James Madison 82
Iowa State 69 FINAL
Kansas State 70
Arkansas 67 FINAL
Kentucky 84
Missouri State 51 FINAL
Loyola-Chicago 65
Fordham 74 FINAL
Massachusetts 82
Nicholls 78 FINAL
McNeese State 83
East Tenn St 64 FINAL
Mercer 69
Coppin State 88 FINAL
Morgan State 77
San Diego 78 FINAL
Portland 66
Gardner-Webb 62 FINAL
Radford 72
St Francis-PA 70 FINAL
Robert Morris 71
Duquesne 75 FINAL
St Bonaventure 92
Creighton 66 FINAL
Seton Hall 67
Oklahoma State 62 FINAL
Texas Tech 63
Alabama 66 FINAL
Vanderbilt 73
Virginia Tech 57 FINAL
Virginia 69
Bethune-Cookman 49 FINAL
NC Central 72
St Francis-NY 51 FINAL
Bryant 61
Drake 57 FINAL
Southern Ill 63
High Point 93 FINAL
Char Southern 97
Central Conn St 66 FINAL
Fair-Dickinson 73
Eastern Mich 72 FINAL
Western Mich 80
Texas 64 FINAL
Kansas 69
Chattanooga 61 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 58
SE Louisiana 72 FINAL
Central Arkansas 74
South Dakota St 64 FINAL
South Dakota 80
Montana 77 FINAL
Eastern Wash 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 64
Old Dominion 70 FINAL
North Texas 57
Arkansas State 60 FINAL
Texas State 70
Texas Southern 58 FINAL
Alabama State 49
Tennessee St 62 FINAL
Belmont 88
Princeton 80 FINAL
Brown 62
Dartmouth 56 FINAL
Cornell 45
Tennessee 49 FINAL
Florida 66
Jacksonville St 55 FINAL
Morehead State 87
San Jose St 51 FINAL
Nevada 62
Florida A&M 65 FINAL
NC A&T 77
Iowa 81 FINAL
Penn State 77
Loyola Marymount 49 FINAL
Pepperdine 65
Miss State 68 FINAL
South Carolina 81
Savannah State 68 FINAL
SC State 57
Miss Valley St 49 FINAL
Jackson State 73
Alcorn State 63 FINAL
Southern U 71
Harvard 80 FINAL
Columbia 70
George Washington 66 FINAL
Davidson 77
Syracuse 54 FINAL
Duke 73
Tenn Tech 67 FINAL
Eastern Ky 70
UNC-Wilmington 55 FINAL
Elon 74
Stony Brook 74 FINAL
Hartford 59
Northwestern 60 FINAL
Illinois 86
Western Ill 64 FINAL
IUPU-Ft Wayne 84
Buffalo 71 FINAL
Kent State 65
Incarnate Word 66 FINAL
Lamar 79
Cal State Fullerton 47 FINAL
Long Beach State 70
TX-San Antonio 66 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 76
Fla Atlantic 63 FINAL
Marshall 79
Richmond 63 FINAL
Saint Josephs 57
George Mason 78 FINAL
Saint Louis 50
Austin Peay 65 FINAL
SE Missouri St 89
Ball State 59 FINAL
Toledo 70
Penn 50 FINAL
Yale 55
Milwaukee 82 FINAL
Youngstown St 74
Stetson 71 FINAL
North Florida 86
USC Upstate 65 FINAL
Northern Ky 84
Grand Canyon 65 FINAL
Abilene Christian 55 FINAL
New Orleans 75
Murray State 73 FINAL
UT Martin 67
Hampton 68 FINAL
Howard 67
Prairie View 75 FINAL
Alabama A&M 72
Northeastern 65 FINAL
Coll of Charleston 56
Tulsa 74 FINAL
Memphis 72
Wyoming 57 FINAL
Central Mich 55 FINAL
Northern Ill 73
Denver 57 FINAL
Oral Roberts 60
Charlotte 77 FINAL
Rice 76
Boise State 56 FINAL
San Diego St 46
St Marys-CA 70 FINAL
Santa Clara 71
Texas-El Paso 60 FINAL
Southern Miss 63
New Mexico St 0 Postponed
TX-Pan American 0
Western Ky 77
Stephen F Austin 102 FINAL
Houston Baptist 87
Grambling St 57 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 66
Ga Southern 58 FINAL
Louisiana 68
Auburn 55 FINAL
Texas A&M 80
Ark-Little Rock 73 FINAL
Texas-Arlington 82
Sam Houston St 59 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 61
Arizona 63 FINAL
Utah 57
Northern Ariz 74 FINAL
Northern Colorado 76
UC Davis 66 FINAL
Cal Poly 56
New Mexico 55 FINAL
Fresno State 59
Gonzaga 70
Pacific 55 FINAL
San Francisco 65
Idaho State 57 FINAL
Weber State 61
Sacramento St 73 FINAL
Portland State 60
UC Riverside 76 FINAL
CS-Northridge 83
Washington 55 FINAL
USC 70
CS-Bakersfield 43 FINAL
Seattle 53
UC Irvine 51 FINAL
UC Santa Barbara 54
Michigan 60 FINAL
Illinois 72
Lipscomb 57 FINAL
Kennesaw St 75
North Florida 45 FINAL
Stetson 77
Samford 65 FINAL
Mercer 70
Liberty 64 FINAL
Campbell 57
North Texas 48 FINAL
Old Dominion 70
St Francis-NY 62 FINAL
Bryant 52
St Francis-PA 58 FINAL
Robert Morris 73
Long Island 71 FINAL
Sacred Heart 78
Sam Houston St 52 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 60
Kent State 59 FINAL
Miami-Ohio 66
Appalachian St 80
Boston U 62 FINAL
Holy Cross 76
Nicholls 73 FINAL
McNeese State 68
Akron 80 FINAL
Buffalo 87
Ball State 50 FINAL
Western Mich 51
MD-Eastern Shore 68 FINAL
Delaware State 61
Northern Ill 52 FINAL
Eastern Michigan 60
Bowling Green 47 FINAL
Ohio U 67
Central Michigan 53 FINAL
Toledo 62
Coppin State 55 FINAL
Morgan State 73
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC Central 33
Central Conn St 77 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 56
Memphis 24 FINAL
(1) Connecticut 87
Georgia Tech 67 FINAL
Wake Forest 60
East Carolina 69 FINAL
Temple 79
Fairfield 72 FINAL
Manhattan 54
Niagara 53 FINAL
Iona 81
Marist 65 FINAL
Rider 56
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Purdue 56
Northern Ky 83 FINAL
USC Upstate 60
East Tenn St 42 FINAL
(18) Chattanooga 64
Furman 70 FINAL
Wofford 53
Longwood 58 FINAL
Charleston Southern 51
UNC-Asheville 87 FINAL
Coastal Carolina 53
Winthrop 60 FINAL
Presbyterian 53
Western Ill 75 FINAL
South Dakota 78
Detroit 78 FINAL
Valparaiso 57
Cleveland State 69 FINAL
Milwaukee 76
Georgia State 75 FINAL
Troy 88
Lafayette 41 FINAL
Army 57
Arkansas State 74 FINAL
Texas State 83
South Dakota St 82
Tennessee St 70 FINAL
Belmont 53
Eastern Illinois 55 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 72
Jacksonville St 83 FINAL
Morehead St 78
Kansas State 47 FINAL
TCU 67
Cincinnati 56 FINAL
SMU 46
SE Louisiana 57 FINAL
Central Arkansas 73
Denver 40 FINAL
Nebraska Omaha 53
Tulane 52 FINAL
Tulsa 54
IUPU-Ft Wayne 56 FINAL
Oral Roberts 84
Air Force 50 FINAL
Utah State 84
San Diego State 58 FINAL
Boise State 62
Fresno State 60 FINAL
New Mexico 63
Florida A&M 42 FINAL
NC A&T 78
Gonzaga 73 FINAL
BYU 66
South Florida 99 FINAL
UCF 71
Washington 74
(3) Baylor 71 FINAL
Iowa State 76
Tenn Tech 84 FINAL
Eastern Kentucky 71
Grand Canyon 56
Seattle 61 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 73
Texas Southern 64 FINAL
Alabama State 52
Santa Clara 71 FINAL
St Marys-CA 74
Wyoming 99
Savannah State 55 FINAL
SC State 52
Alcorn State 55 FINAL
Southern U 76
Miss Valley St 54 FINAL
Jackson State 58
Bucknell 55 FINAL
American Univ 65
Radford 63 FINAL
High Point 83
Eastern Washington 59 FINAL
Montana 69
Idaho 62 FINAL
Montana State 71
Weber State 56 FINAL
Idaho State 63
Green Bay 73 FINAL
Youngstown St 27
Oakland 54 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 64
Austin Peay 72 FINAL
SE Missouri St 67
Wagner 65 FINAL
Mount St Marys 68
Portland 72 FINAL
San Diego 80
Nevada 72 FINAL
San Jose St 81
Stephen F Austin 69 FINAL
Houston Baptist 57
Incarnate Word 64 FINAL
Lamar 81
Abilene Christian 50 FINAL
New Orleans 71
Pepperdine 57 FINAL
Loyola Marymount 74
San Francisco 91 FINAL
Pacific 79
Prairie View 81 FINAL
Alabama A&M 71
Hampton 106 FINAL
Howard 57
Chicago State 53 FINAL
Utah Valley U 68
Cal Poly 75 FINAL
Cal-Irvine 84
UC Santa Barbara 57 FINAL
UC Davis 52
Marshall 73 FINAL
Florida Atlantic 83
Portland State 77 FINAL
Sacramento St 123
Western Ky 88 FINAL
FIU 47
Middle Tennessee 57
Georgia Southern 35 FINAL
Louisiana 62
Grambling 59 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 45
Ark-Little Rock 48 FINAL
TX-Arlington 38
Cornell 33 FINAL
Dartmouth 54
Columbia 81 FINAL
Harvard 82
Brown 67 FINAL
(14) Princeton 79
Washington St 68
(24) California 55 FINAL
(7) Oregon State 73
Yale 33 FINAL
Penn 59
Murray State 74 FINAL
UT Martin 87
Loyola-Maryland 50 FINAL
Navy 59
Jacksonville 47 FINAL
(21) Fla Gulf Coast 78
Long Beach St 69 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 62
Rice 59 FINAL
Charlotte 78
Colgate 61 FINAL
Lehigh 60
CS-Northridge 88 FINAL
UC-Riverside 70
Kansas 65 FINAL
Oklahoma 58
Oklahoma St 47 FINAL
Texas Tech 44
TX-Pan American 60 FINAL
New Mexico St 80
North Dakota 66 FINAL
Southern Utah 73
Northern Colorado 88 FINAL
Northern Ariz 67
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9




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