May 21, 2013 in Sports

Chargers keep Te’o from media

Rookie off-limits until minicamp in June
Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Chargers rookie Manti Te’o is seen but not heard during organized team activities.
(Full-size photo)

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.

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 decline 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 doing a nice job and he’ll be in front of you when we put him out here.”

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.

He also said veteran safety Eric Weddle “came up to me today and gave me the rundown – don’t do it again.”

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