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March 26, 2013

Te'o improves 40; Eifert steady

NOTRE DAME, Ind. - Manti Te’o and 13 other former Irish players were put through the paces at Pro Day Tuesday on Meyo Field in Loftus Sports Center.

A trim-looking Te’o, who clocked a much-publicized 4.82 time in the 40 at the Indianapolis Combine in February, was timed at 4.75 and 4.71. Te’o said one of the times clocked by an NFL scout had him at 4.69.

“I thought I did pretty good,” said a trim-looking Te’o. “It was a grand finale with everybody there. I had guys around me that I spent the last four years with, and it was more comfortable (than the combine).”

Tight end Tyler Eifert did nothing to change the prevailing opinion that he will be the first tight end selected in the draft and a probable first-round selection. Eifert caught the football with the greatest of ease after participating in blocking drills with offensive linemen Braxston Cave and Mike Golic, Jr.

Eifert, who ran 4.62 and 4.68 times in the 40 at the combine, did not run the 40 Tuesday. He didn’t feel the need.

“At the end of the day, it is your film that really matters,” Eifert said. “I feel like I’ve been doing this a while, which takes some of the pressure off it. It’s not make or break if you don’t do well at the combine or the pro day. You’ve shown what you can do on tape, and that’s what really matters.”

Said NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock of Eifert and Te’o: “They both had a great day. Eifert caught the ball, and that’s all he wanted to do, and Manti ran the 4.75, and that’s all he wanted to do.”

Other players participating in the testing that included the 40-yard dash, the three-cone drill and the 60-yard shuttle were long-snapper Jordan Cowart, wide receiver John Goodman, Golic, safety Zeke Motta, running back Theo Riddick, safety Chris Salvi, wide receiver Robby Toma, punter Ben Turk and running back Cierre Wood.

Also participating in the testing were center Braxston Cave, defensive lineman Kapron Lewis-Moore, and safety Jamoris Slaughter. Lewis-Moore (knee) and Slaughter (Achilles) are recovering from injuries suffered during the 2012 season.

Former Irish quarterback Evan Sharpley - not Brady Quinn as originally anticipated - threw passes to Eifert, Goodman, Riddick and Wood. Initially, the receivers were asked to catch a series of off-target throws.

Defensive players put through pass drop situations were Te’o, Motta and Salvi.

Te’o was asked about his combine experience and the line of questioning in the aftermath of the Ronaiah Tuiasosopo-Lennay Kekua scam.

“Everybody wants to know,” Te’o said. “Some guys just wanted a brief (review) of what happened. Overall, it was a great opportunity and a great experience.

“For me, it’s just focus on football. I’m a football player. I made mistakes, but nothing that affected my play on the football field.”

Motta, who ran a disappointing 4.83 at the combine, did not know his exact 40-yard time Tuesday, but he heard in was in the mid-4.6s.

“For this, it’s more like track and field, Olympic preparation, speed and everything,” Motta said. “There are so many things that have prepared me for the next level, especially being around a bunch of competitive guys, and that off-season preparation that Notre Dame has put us through the past few seasons has really been helpful.”

Cave, who has been bothered by a shoulder issue that he tweaked while preparing for the combine, did 32 bench-press reps of 225. He said he was up to 46 reps before suffering the setback.

Sharpley threw with Goodman twice a week for about two months in Goodman’s home in Fort Wayne, Ind.

“I’ve stayed in shape and prepared to help make these guys look good,” Sharpley said. “I’ve definitely been doing a lot of throwing. I threw at Ball State for their pro day last week for a couple of guys that trained with John in Fort Wayne.

“All these guys leaving today were freshman when I was a fifth-year senior, so it was kind of neat to help them out. Once John told Tyler that I was available to throw, Tyler was all for that.”

Irish assistant coach Mike Denbrock and assistant strength and conditioning coach David Grimes were with the players on the field as they waited to take their turns. Irish assistant coach Tony Alford was on hand, as was safeties coach Bob Elliott. Former Irish captain Mike Golic and his son, Jake, watched Mike Jr., from the sideline.

Current Irish defensive end Chase Hounshell, wearing a sling on his right arm to protect a shoulder injury, watched from the sideline, as did former Irish great Michael Floyd.

Athletics director Jack Swarbrick arrived about 45 minutes into the hour-and-a-half workout.

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