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Manti Te'o shielded by San Diego Chargers from media

The San Diego Chargers are keeping Manti Te'o under lock and key.

A team spokesman announced Monday that the rookie inside linebacker will be unavailable to the media until San Diego launches its June 11-13 minicamp.

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The Chargers called it an "organizational decision," according to Michael Gehlken of U-T San Diego.

This won't play well with local writers. Access to players is especially important as teams dig into offseason workouts and rookies take their first steps on NFL soil. Still, it's another sign that Te'o has landed with a franchise looking to protect him as he begins his career.

Te'o, on his own, has made strides to downplay the "catfishing" scheme that turned the former Notre Dame linebacker into a media punchline. He last week attended a Maxim party celebrating their "Hot 100" list, which jabbed at Te'o by ranking his phantom girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, at No. 69.

The Chargers can't protect Te'o forever, and they won't try. But more importantly, Te'o has shown he's ready to take on any question that comes his way.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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