Before this story develops, it needs to be stated that there is nothing out of the ordinary with Te’o visiting the Bears. Remember, that teams meet with a handful of prospects before the draft and a pre-draft visit is not always the pre-cursor to the team selecting said player. That being said, one of the clear needs for the Bears entering the draft is at the linebacker position. Ideally, the Bears would like to draft a middle linebacker that can be the long-term solution at the position. Te’o was the starting middle linebacker for the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Te’o received incredible amounts of hype during the 2012 season–in large part due to the idea that the linebacker was playing at such a high level in light of the deaths of his Grandmother and alleged girlfriend. Te’o recorded 111 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 7 interceptions for the Fighting Irish during the 2012 season. Te’o’s stock, however, took a significant hit during the first week of January. During the first week of January, it was discovered that Te’o was the victim of a catfish scheme that involved the fake girlfriend. Te’o’s struggles did not end there. In the BCS Championship game against Alabama, Te’o was exposed by an NFL-caliber offensive line and many began to question how productive of a NFL player he would be. Despite all the hits that Te’o’s draft stock has taken in recent months, many mock drafts have the linebacker being selected in the first round and some of them pin the Bears as the team selecting him.
Te’o should not have his performance against Alabama held against him. That is not the reason why the Bears should not draft him. The reason the Bears should avoid Te’o is because of the circus that would ensue. No matter where Te’o is drafted, he is bound to be followed nationally on a daily basis. The coverage of Te’o will mirror the coverage of quarterback Tim Tebow when he was originally drafted by the Denver Broncos. That is to not even mention what would take place inside the locker room. It is common practice for NFL veterans to haze rookies, and unfortunately for Te’o, he is a prime target. Now it is possible that Te’o takes the hazing in stride and becomes stronger from it, but given his past, that may not be a likely option. Looking past what Te’o would provide on the field–it appears that will be easy to do so–the biggest reason why the Bears should avoid Te’o is because of the atmosphere it would create.