Chargers protecting Te’o, not letting him to talk to media
By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sports Writer
SAN DIEGO — Manti Te’o isn’t hiding out. He’s just not talking to the media.
After being spotted attending a party thrown by the magazine Maxim last week in Hollywood, Te’o was back in San Diego at the Chargers second open session of organized team activities on Monday.
For the second straight week, the former Notre Dame linebacker was barred from speaking with reporters.
Maxim confirmed that Te’o attended a party after the magazine included his fake girlfriend on its list of the world’s 100 hottest women.
The Chargers apparently are trying to put the fake girlfriend episode behind by keeping Te’o off-limits to the media until minicamp in mid-June. Te’o’s attending the party seemed to refresh in people’s minds how the Heisman Trophy runner-up was caught in an elaborate hoax. The magazine put Te’o’s fake girlfriend at No. 69 on its list, running a picture of an “invisible” girl in a bikini superimposed over an ocean scene.
Te’o posed with several women at the Maxim party, including models Kendra Wilkinson and Courtney Caldwell, and beach volleyball player Jess Gysin.
Rookie head coach Mike McCoy said he didn’t know Te’o went to the Maxim bash.
“He’s going to make certain decisions. We’ll keep that in-house with what we think and what we’re doing with that,” the coach said.
Te’o was drafted by the Chargers in the second round.
He dropped out of the first round in part because of his poor performance in Notre Dame’s blowout loss to Alabama in the national championship game. The fake girlfriend hoax that was revealed in January and became a national sensation didn’t help, either.
The Chargers, who are trying to rebuild under a new regime after missing the playoffs three straight seasons, have taken unprecedented steps to limit Te’o’s time in front of the microphones. The team refused to let reporters do customary one-on-ones with him after his introductory news conference during the draft, and has continued to refuse to set up one-on-one interviews with the linebacker.
Te’o did speak after the first practice of rookie minicamp on May 10 but has been the only player off-limits during OTAs, which are practices in helmets, jerseys and shorts.
Some reporters do have football-related questions for Te’o.
“We have a plan like we have for everything else,” McCoy said. “He’s here. He’s a young player. The organization has a schedule for him like we do every other player of putting him in front of the media. We’ll do it accordingly.
“He’s doing a nice job and he’ll be in front of you when we put him out here.”
McCoy was Denver’s offensive coordinator when Tim Tebow was with the Broncos.
The Broncos never kept Tebow off-limits to the media.
One Chargers rookie who did talk was former California wide receiver Keenan Allen, who said he didn’t think posting a photo of himself online wearing an Oakland Raiders cap would cause the stir it did.
“Obviously I had a Raiders hat on. I didn’t think it would have the effect that it did have but obviously it did and I didn’t mean for it to happen,” Allen said sheepishly about getting caught wearing gear from the Chargers’ most-hated rival. “I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. I wasn’t actually thinking about football at all. I was just going to grab a bite to eat. I posted something on Vine.
“I’m sorry about it and it won’t happen again.” Allen said he bought the hat while in college.
He posted the picture sometime after being drafted by the Chargers.
He also said veteran safety Eric Weddle “came up to me today and gave me the rundown — don’t do it again.”
Outside linebacker Dwight Freeney, who agreed to a two-year deal with the Chargers on Saturday, wasn’t at Monday’s workout. McCoy said Freeney had a prior commitment.
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