Manti Te'o's adrenaline overtook his hearing when the phone call
finally came, and he never did catch the name of the person who told the
All-America linebacker he would start his post-Notre Dame football career in San
"All I remember is them asking me, 'How would you like to be a San Diego Charger?' " Te'o told Chargers.com Friday night after his wait ended six picks into Day 2 of the NFL Draft. "Then I talked to the owner and man, I'm just excited right now."
And just how excited will San Diego be the with second-rounder and 38th selection overall?
Kevin Acee, columnist for U-T San Diego, said his Twitter feed was running 7-3 or 8-2 blasting the pick, but noted his social media feedback tends not to mirror the actual fan base.
"For instance, we had somebody out last night at a draft party for season ticket holders,' Acee said. "And the overwhelming majority was extremely positive about the team picking D.J. Fluker (in Thursday night's first round), and that's how it was last year when they picked Melvin Ingram.
"You go then to Twitter or the comments at the end of our articles, and there were just people ripping up in both cases, both last year and this. So we're going to have to wait and see."
Te'o, who's expected to be in San Diego Saturday, becomes the highest-drafted Irish linebacker since 1993, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers selected Demetrius DuBose 34th overall, and he follows tight end Tyler Eifert in this draft, who went Thursday night to the Cincinnati Bengals in round 1 with the 21st pick.
The three-day player dispersal finishes up Saturday with rounds 4-7, with as many as five Irish players expected to come off the board, including center and Penn High graduate Braxston Cave. Round four kicks off at noon.
The youngest general manager in Chargers' history, 40-year-old and former Colts director of player personnel Tom Telesco, traded up seven spots to grab the 6-foot-2, 243-pound Te'o with the sixth pick of the second round, a spot that originally belonged to the Arizona Cardinals.
"We put a lot of work into this decision," Telesco told Chargers.com. "He's a player who fits what we want to do on defense. He's a natural football player, the most instinctual and natural linebacker in the draft, we thought. I think he'll fit excellent into our 3-4, how we're going to play our linebackers.
"We figured if we really wanted him. we were going to have to go get him, so that's what we did."
Te'o's selection started a run of five inside linebackers in the second round after just one, Alec Ogletree, came off the board in round No. 1 -- and three picks from the end of the round (30th to the Rams) at that.
"When I talked to him this morning, he actually cheered me up," Irish head coach Brian Kelly told NFL Network after seeing the Heisman Trophy runner-up slip out of round 1.
Te'o joins a team that went 7-9 last season and missed the playoffs for the third season in a row. The Chargers also have a new head coach in Mike McCoy. Te'o's position coach will be a former USC linebacker, Joe Barry.
"Being a Charger means a lot to me right now," said Te'o, who watched the draft in his hometown of Laie, Hawaii, with friends and family. "The coaches and the front office, it's a great organization, and I want to reward them for picking
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