Linebacker Manti Te’o agreed to a two-year deal with the New Orleans Saints on Tuesday. The 26-year-old will try to resurrect his career after a failed stint with the then-San Diego Chargers.
Te’o entered the 2013 draft as one of the most decorated defensive players in college football history. He won several awards after his senior season at Notre Dame and finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting. The Chargers traded up seven spots to select Te’o with the No. 38 overall pick, hoping he’d follow in the footsteps of the late, great Junior Seau.
But Te’o’s NFL career got off to a rocky start due to injury. He missed most of the preseason and the first three games of the regular season with a foot injury. Unfortunately for Te’o, injuries became all too common during his career. He missed 26 games in parts of four seasons with the Chargers, including 13 games last season after suffering a torn Achilles in Week 3.
However, Te’o showed flashes of potential on the field. His best season came in 2015 when he racked up 83 tackles, a forced fumble and one interception over 12 games. Te’o will be reunited with new Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan, who coached him in San Diego in 2015.
The Saints will have competition at the middle linebacker spot next season between Te’o, A.J. Klein, who they signed in free agency, and last year’s starter Craig Robertson.
About Marcelo Villa
Marcelo is an associate editor at The Sports Daily, and has covered the San Diego Chargers for Bleacher Report. He also writes for Sportsdirect Inc.