Manti T’eo Chargers jersey outsells other NFL rookies

Richard Thompson Contributor
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Though Manti T’eo’s girlfriend may have been fake, his hype among NFL fans is very real.

T’eo’s #50 San Diego Chargers jersey is the highest selling jersey of all NFL rookies, ESPN reports.

Numbers from April 1 to June 30 show that T’eo’s jersey sales top the rookie rankings. Other first-year players with high jersey sales include Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel and Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy, while San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick has the highest-selling jersey among all players in the league.

T’eo’s increasing popularity could be a sign that the embarrassed player may be making a comeback. The former Notre Dame linebacker became the laughingstock of the sports world after it was revealed that the girl he thought he was dating was the product of an online prankster. To make matters worse, T’eo was made to believe that his alleged girlfriend died from cancer — a story that was the backdrop to the successful senior season highlighted by a Heisman Trophy candidacy and a bid to the BCS championship game.

The girlfriend hoax, as well as T’eo’s lackluster performance in Notre Dame’s miserable 42-14 loss to Alabama in the NCAA Championship, caused many teams to be skeptical of his maturity and ability to perform on a professional level.

Despite his plummeting draft stock, T’eo was picked up by the San Diego Chargers as the 38th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.

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Richard Thompson