Having brought in a trio of linebackers last week to try out for depth, the Chicago Bears opted to sign Manti Te’o to the practice squad today.
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) October 20, 2020
The Bears have starters Roquan Smith (playing at a Pro Bowl level) and Danny Trevathan (still useful, but obviously slowing down in pass coverage) at inside linebacker, and Joel Iyiegbuniwe, Josh Woods, and Devante Bond behind them on a typical week. But the practice squad depth in the middle was lacking, hence the tryouts.
Te’o, 29, was a star at Notre Dame before being selected by the Chargers in the 2nd round in 2013. He never quite emerged as a quality regular, and was most recently a back-up on the Saints for a few years.
Most football fans are familiar with Te’o’s work on the college scene. The Notre Dame product was a Heisman Trophy runner-up and winner of the Maxwell, Bednarik, Camp, Nagurski, Butkus, and Lombardi awards in 2012. Te’o capped his college career with unanimous All-American honors. It’s a collegiate résumé that’s top notch, but also, many know Te’o’s name because a story about his girlfriend dying turned out to be a hoax.