I’ve thought all along that whatever happens with the fraternal hazing Te’o gets, he’ll be measured among his teammates by performance. If the guy can play and is an earnest worker, he’ll get respect in time. It’s naïve to think the phony girlfriend won’t come up, and I’m sure Te’o knows it’s coming, and he just has to take whatever comes his way. But then it’ll be over. Then the questions will be about his play. Will he hold the point of attack when big and fast Oakland back Darren McFadden lowers his head up the gut on third-and-two? Will he be able to pivot and cover Denver tight end Jacob Tamme, and hold his own when he’s caught in a mismatch against versatile Chiefs back Dexter McCluster? He’ll be tested by good weapons in the AFC West.
Two weeks ago, he became the first player from Princeton to be selected in the NFL Draft since 2001. And while Ivy League graduates are generally well-respected, it’s not usually for their abilities on a football field. Only six players from the Ivy League appeared in an NFL game last season.
Catapano is trying to change the conventional thinking.
“Everybody always says, ‘Hey, at least you’re bringing up the team GPA,’ ” Catapano said. “but I came here to play. I’m proud to represent the Ivy League. The Ivy League is smart guys that like to play football, and that’s what I’m here to show — that we can play the game just as (well) as everybody else.”
Harris is trying to find a spot on the Chiefs roster at this weekend’s minicamp. It’s clear after watching an hour of practice that he hasn’t played football in four years. He sits on the sideline — watching — most of the time. A coach is near him, explaining things to him as the day goes on. If he was in on more than a half dozen plays during practice then I didn’t see it. Limited reps to be sure. He isn’t even sweaty when practice ends.
He’s tall, but not bulky. If you look close enough you could convince yourself that’s a basketball player’s body and not a football player’s but to say he looked different than any of the other tight ends would not be accurate. He’s just slightly taller at 6’7. I expected to see skinny legs — basketball player and all — but his legs look like the rest of the players on the field.
It’s been a wild and crazy ride for New Orleans Saints center Brian De La Puente, but he has finally emerged as one of the best players the NFL has to offer.
You wouldn’t know it.
De La Puente entered the league as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He bounced around with the San Francisco 49ers twice, the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks twice and the Carolina Panthers before joining the Saints in October of 2010.
Two years later, and De La Puente is the exact role model each Saints’ undrafted free agent should be looking up to.
De La Puente took over as the starter in New Orleans after Olin Kreutz elected to ditch the NFL altogether in the middle of the 2011 season.