Former NFL coach Tony Dungy, who mentored Michael Vick when he returned to the NFL after doing prison time, had similar advice.
“I don’t know the whole case but I always advise people to face up to it and just talk to people and say what happened,” Dungy said while attending the NCAA convention in Dallas on Friday. “The truth is the best liberator, so that’s what I would do. And he’s going to get questioned a lot about it.”
Te’o led a lightly regarded Fighting Irish team to a 12-0 regular season and the BCS title game, where they were routed 42-14 by Alabama and Te’o played poorly.
He was said to be staying at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., where he and about 35 other NFL draft hopefuls were invited to work out. He has been projected to be a first-round draft pick in April, possibly among the first 10 picks.
Several athletes at IMG tweeted on Friday that they had seen Te’o on the sprawling campus. But he was never spotted by a group of reporters who waited nearby for a chance to ask him a question. His agent Tom Condon didn’t return messages and the IMG Academy didn’t respond to requests for comment.
Dungy said Te’o could face the toughest questions from NFL teams.
“If I was still coaching and we’re thinking about taking this guy in the first round, you want to know not exactly what happened but what is going on with this young man and is it going to be a deterrent to him surviving in the NFL and is it going to stop him from being a star,” Dungy said. “So just tell the truth about what happened and this is why, I think, that’s the best thing.”