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Manti Te'o: San Diego Chargers are my 'next chapter'

The last time Manti Te'o faced the hot lights of the media, he was the center of attention at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. We all wondered back then what team would take a chance on the former Notre Dame linebacker.

Two months later, we have our answer.

San Diego traded up to No. 38 overall in the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft to grab Te'o, who promised on Saturday that the Chargers wouldn't regret it.

"I'm really excited to start this new journey in my life in San Diego," Te'o told reporters at the team's training complex. "(I'm) just excited to help us win a Super Bowl."

Te'o took time to thank the Chargers for "allowing me to fulfill my dream," and when asked to name who he planned to emulate on the field, he said, "First and foremost, it starts with Junior Seau and Ray Lewis.

"My expectations are just to come in and do what I do," Te'o said. "And that's study film, prepare, work hard and do my best to help this team win."

Te'o was asked more than once about his poor showing against Alabama in the BCS National Championship Game, and he said he's learned "not to get so caught up in the moment.

"Obviously it's a game that I'd love to have back," Te'o said, "but I think I had a very successful collegiate career and hopefully (will) have that much success in the NFL."

On the heels of his awkward "Catfishing" scandal, Te'o said voyaging to unfriendly NFL stadiums (read: the Oakland Raiders' delightful "Black Hole") won't be an issue.

"After the couple months I've been through, I'm pretty prepared," said Te'o, who intimated that the Chargers didn't seem to care about the phantom-girlfriend narrative.

"As an organization, you do all your research on every player," Chargers coach Mike McCoy told NFL Network. "Through the in-depth research we've done, it was not going to be an issue to us."

On the field, McCoy labeled Te'o "a great addition" at inside linebacker next to Donald Butler. The Chargers saw in Te'o a player who "loves the game."

After an offseason flush with off-field distractions, Te'o sounded eager to put the white noise of the winding, invasive draft process in the rear-view mirror once and for all.

"It's the next chapter of my life," Te'o said. " ... I'm just normal. Just like everybody else."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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