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Te‘o still off-limits to media

Rookie was at Maxim party after ‘Hot 100’ included fake girlfriend

May 21, 2013
By BERNIE WILSON , The Associated Press

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, a Punahou School graduate, was back in San Diego at the Chargers' second open session of organized team activities on Monday.

For the second straight week, the rookie linebacker was barred from speaking with reporters.

Article Photos

Manti Te‘o takes part in a drill during the San Diego Chargers’ practice Monday.

AP photo

Maxim confirmed that Te'o attended a party after the magazine included his fake girlfriend on its "Hot 100" list of the world's most beautiful 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 last year's Heisman Trophy runner-up from Notre Dame 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" woman in a bikini superimposed over an ocean scene.

San Diego 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 posed with several women at the Maxim party, including models Kendra Wilkinson and Courtney Caldwell, and beach volleyball player Jess Gysin.

Te'o was drafted by the Chargers in the second round. He dropped out of the first round in part because of a poor performance in Notre Dame's blowout loss to Alabama in the Bowl Championship Series title game. The fake girlfriend hoax that was revealed in January didn't help, either.

The Chargers, who are trying to rebuild under a new regime after missing the playoffs three consecutive 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.

"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."



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