USA TODAY Sports
The Cincinnati Bengals spent 15 minutes speaking with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. They talked football, not fake girlfriends.
Cincinnati Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, after mocking most people for demanding that Rey Maualuga move to inside linebacker (you know who you are), admitted that the Bengals met with Notre Dame inside linebacker Manti Te'o on Saturday. After the limited 15 minute interview, Zimmer told Bengals.com that he came away impressed.
"Good. Pretty sharp," Zimmer said, but he also admitted he doesn't know much about the girlfriend hoax story and the Bengals didn't spend much time on it.
"You look at it all from everything, but we didn’t get too involved with that," Zimmer said. "You talk about everything, but it was a lot about football."
Zimmer says he'll use that interview.
"You find out about them from the way they handle themselves. A little bit about the background. Talk about some of those things. Just a basic first-blush talking-to for me anyway," Zimmer said. "Some guys you can tell when they get excited talking about certain things. If they don’t. Stuff like that. You go back and start watching the tape; I will have known a little bit about his background, watched a little more tape."
Is it surprising? Zimmer, who has spent years motivating players like Adam Jones, Tank Johnson and the countless veterans that's either declining or other teams didn't want anyway, spent a majority of the time talking football within their brief window. And frankly if the Bengals find that Te'o helps their defense, allowing Maualuga to leave and keeping Vontaze Burfict in the same role he played last year, then does some fake girlfriend really matter?