Manti Te'o impressing at San Diego Chargers practice
- By Chris Wesseling
- Updated: June 11, 2013 at 10:27 p.m.
San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker Manti Te'o finally ended his silence Tuesday, telling reporters he's definitely "reaped the benefits" of his media hiatus.
"I've had the time to focus on the plays and focus on what goes on on the field," Te'o said, "and that has definitely helped me improve."
While Te'o failed to regale the media throng with anything particularly enlightening, we discovered Tuesday that the former Notre Dame star already has exceeded expectations on the field.
Kevin Acee of UT-San Diego -- the most trusted voice on the Chargers' beat -- places Te'o in the company of defensive lineman Kendall Reyes and former outside linebacker Shawne Merriman as the most NFL-ready players drafted by the Charges in the past nine years.
The Bolts are "thrilled" with Te'o's on-field progress to date, ESPN.com's AFC West blogger Bill Williamson adds.
The analysis of those covering the team echoes that of veteran fullback Le'Ron McClain, who said two weeks ago that Te'o had "caught everybody's eye to see that he's a great player."
The early returns suggest the Chargers might have lucked into a second-round steal after Te'o's fake-girlfriend scandal and pedestrian 2013 NFL Scouting Combine performance sabotaged his draft value.