NFL teams have questions about Manti Te'o, on and off the field.
Te'o does not believe that his draft stock will be hurt by his involvement in the fake girlfriend hoax that bewildered and captivated the nation. Whether or not the hoax hurts his eventual position in the upcoming NFL Draft remains to be seen but it is apparently influencing the type of questions teams have about him at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis.
"Here's the elephant in the room for the teams and it shouldn't matter, but we have to step aside from the rest of reality and walk into the unique industry that is the NFL," Florio said to Patrick. "Teams want to know whether Manti Te'o is gay. They just want to know. They want to know because in an NFL locker room, it's a different world. It shouldn't be that way."
LISTEN TO INTERVIEW ABOVE
(Te'o talk begins at 2:50 mark)
After Deadspin uncovered in January that Lennay Kekua, supposedly the Notre Dame linebacker's girlfriend, never existed (and therefore never died tragically during the season as was widely reported), one of the possible explanations circulating was that he devised the hoax to hide the fact that he was gay. In Te'o's first on-camera interview after the hoax was uncovered, Katie Couric asked him directly if he were gay.
"No, far from it ... far from it," Te'o replied at the time.
Based on Florio's comments, this answer must not have satisfied the curiosity of NFL teams. As Florio understands it, teams want to know about Te'o's sexuality but are also afraid of any possible backlash that such a question could potentially bring.
"I'm not saying anyone would take Manti Te'o off the board if they suspected he is gay or know he is gay," Florio clarified later in the discussion. "That's just the thing that is hanging out there that they want to know the answer to. And I think they realize there is no way to know."
Of more concern (hopefully) to those teams interested in drafting Te'o, the All-American linebacker didn't distinguish himself during on-the-field drills on Monday, posting lackluster times in the 40-yard dash.