In wake of the recent injuries at the linebacker position for the New Orleans Saints, they have elected to re-sign linebacker Manti Te’o to the roster.
In 2013, the San Diego Chargers drafted Manti Te’o out of Notre Dame University with their second-round pick — 38th overall. Te’o was dominant in college and was looking to bring that same hype to the next level and ultimately, the New Orleans Saints.
In his rookie season, Te’o got off to a rough start. He sustained a foot injury in preseason that caused him to miss his entire rookie preseason and the first three games of the regular season.
Te’o ended the 2013 season with 61 tackles in 13 games.
Te’o hoped the 2014 season would be smoother but it proved to be just as complicated. He suffered a fractured foot and missed over half of the 2014 season before coming back and recording 61 tackles, 1 interception, and 1 sack in the second half of the season.
2015 was a different year — with the same story.
He missed four games with an ankle injury, but Te’o finished with 63 tackles, one interception, and one forced fumble that year. In 2016, he became a Chargers captain, only later to find himself later that same month on the injured reserve with a torn Achilles’ tendon.
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The Chargers opted not to extend Manti’s contract that next year. In March of 2017, the New Orleans Saints signed Te’o to a 2-year contract. Manti finally turned his career around when he led the Saints in tackles for a loss in 2017 — arguably the best season of his career.
However, it proved to be for nothing.
Te’o ended up sitting the bench for the vast majority of the 2018 season even though he was healthy and was let go after his contract expired. He did not re-sign with another team for the 2019 season which left him as an outstanding free agent. Until now.
Linebackers Kiko Alonso and A.J. Klein suffered injuries in the Thanksgiving day victory over the Atlanta Falcons. With Alex Anzalone around out for the season, that leaves the Saints with only special teams veterans Craig Robertson and Stephone Anthony healthy and active at the position.
Alonso’s status for the upcoming battle with the San Francisco 49ers is still up in the air, but he is considered day-to-day.
There is not much information being given out on A.J. Klein’s injury, but we can suffice to say that he is in doubt for Sunday’s NFC showdown. With these two linebackers questionable at best, the Saints are in need of a backup that may prove to be a fill-in at that position.
Te’o was not a bad linebacker when he was in the league, but his career was riddled with injuries and he was almost never able to recover from them.
This is a good match for both sides here. Manti Te’o already knows Sean Payton and the defensive schematics that the Saints run from spending a couple of years on the team.