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Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chargers Injury Update: Manti Te'o back at practice after offseason foot surgery

By on 6/11/2014 09:50:00 AM

The San Diego Chargers finally have their linebacker back on the field. For the first time since undergoing offseason surgery to repair a broken foot, middle linebacker Manti Te'o was a full participant in practice during organized team activities, according to Eric D. Williams of Te'o missed the first three regular-season games last season.

Until Monday, Te'o had been working on a side field with other players recovering from injuries. His rookie season got off to a slow start after he injured his foot in the exhibition opener. At the time, the team said it was a sprain but after the season, Te'o said it was a stress fracture. He had surgery on his right foot in late January.
Te'o at Notre Dame via Wikimedia Commons
Te'o was drafted in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft by the Chargers out of the University of Notre Dame.  Despite missing the first three regular season games, he recorded 61 combined tackles.  In the two playoff games that San Diego participated in, Te'o had 10 combined tackles.

The once sizzling game-changing plays he made at Notre Dame to become a Heisman Trophy finalist were non-existent. On the big-play front, he had zero sacks, zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles.  With his recent foot surgery, Te'o seems hopeful that his game will rise with the health of his foot:
I have a lot of work to do, a lot of improvements to make.  I'm excited about this year, about the mental progress I've been able to make, as far as the playbook. And I think I can continue to get better. Everything is a process and now I can start focusing on other things: my drops, getting out of breaks, closing speed and all that good stuff.  It is a very exciting time.

This all sounds good to head coach Mike McCoy, who expects the linebacker to be a strength of the front seven. "Now he's been in the system for a year and the longer you play in a system the faster you are going to play," McCoy said. "You're not going to think as much and you can just go out there and play football."

Playing is what Te'o longs to do. That was evident with the smile he had when exciting the Chargers Park practice field.  "It is way better than running gassers, that's for sure," Te'o said.

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