If Manti Te'o is selected by the Houston Texans in the 2013 NFL draft, he may as well prepare himself for some good old fashioned hazing.
At least, that's what Texans defensive end Antonio Smith claims will happen if the Notre Dame inside linebacker is swiped by the franchise.
Smith said on NBC Sports' Pro Football Talk on Tuesday, via Pro Football Talk:
Our locker room is full of clowns and, oh, man people would kill him. I mean he would be the butt of every joke for at least two, three years.
Te'o, of course, hasn't been able to live down the fact that he was the victim of a hoax at Notre Dame. Deadspin.com revealed in January that his supposed girlfriend had been created out of thin air by another man.
Making matters worse, Te'o's draft stock has slid considerably since Notre Dame's season. Not only have some questioned his character and IQ since the hoax, there's also a growing belief that he doesn't have the sideline-to-sideline ability as a linebacker to be a first-round pick, following his poor showings in BCS title and NFL scouting combine.
A lot of mock drafts have the Texans grabbing a receiver in the first round to complement star wideout Andre Johnson, but it's not out of the question that Houston selects a middle linebacker in the first round. There is a need there in the front seven of Houston's 3-4 defense.
But, after hearing this news, perhaps Te'o doesn't want to join the Texans. He's been trying to put the Lennay Kekua incident behind him and concentrate on football, but "two, three years" of the same jokes may get old after a while.
On the other hand, it's quite possible that he'll receive his fair share of abuse from many NFL teams from the get-go. In the locker room atmosphere, anything goes, especially if you're a rookie. Hazing is basically the norm.
Of course, Te'o can silence both critics and teammates with his play on the field. If he becomes the tackling machine he was projected as earlier in Notre Dame's 2012 campaign, he may get the last laugh.