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Manti Te'o on Donald Butler: "He's Like a Big Brother to Me"

Posted Jul 25, 2013

Inside linebackers Manti Te'o and Donald Butler are forming a strong bond, with Te'o calling Butler a "big brother".

General manager Tom Telesco made one of the boldest moves of the offseason when he traded up to draft Manti Te'o early in the second round.  He said he envisioned drafting an impact player who can be a cornerstone of the defense next to fellow inside linebacker Donald Butler.

If offseason workouts and the first day of training camp are any indication,that vision could very well come to fruition.

Photo Gallery: Manti Te'o at Training Camp |First Day of Training Camp | More Photos

Asked to describe his relationship with Butler, Te’o didn’t hesitate in his response.

“With Donald, he’s like a big brother to me,” the rookie linebacker said. “He really helps me out before the plays, during the plays and after the plays by just correcting me and helping me to know where I’ve got to go. And sometimes even when I know where I’ve got to go, he just gives me that confirmation that (I’m) doing the right thing.  To have someone like Donald over there who is constantly being that big brother to me, I’m definitely very, very grateful for it.”

Taking on that “big brother” role seemed natural for Butler having been in the same position not too long ago with experienced vets like Takeo Spikes. As grateful as Te’o is to have Butler, number 56 is equally as gratified to take on the role.

“It’s definitely different being in this position as opposed to being the young guy, but it’s fun,” he said. “I’m enjoying it.  I was that guy not so long ago looking up to the vets, and now I’m in that big brother role and its fun.  Manti is a great kid.  He’s like a sponge taking everything in.  I guess I can say I’m an older guy now, and I appreciate a young kid like him coming in and working hard to get better every day.  I love it. That keeps me going, and I think it keeps him going as well.”

The best part of the close knit relationship between Butler and Te’o are the tangible results being shown out on the field.

“It’s been going real well between us,” Butler said. “Obviously we’re going to be working a lot together, so the relationship Manti and I can build on and off the field is critical to our success.  But he’s been great.  We communicate and talk about everything, and I think that’s showing on the field.”

Even though they’ve impressed pretty much everyone who has seen the duo in action, Butler refuses to listen to the hype.  Instead he’s focused on continuing to get better.

“I’m not listening to what anyone is saying, and I told Manti that too,” he said. “Right now we’ve got to focus on building that camaraderie up between us, being productive out there and continue to do great things. If we do that, we can dominate for the next couple years.”

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Training Camp Schedule

Be sure to check out live streams of press conferences on Chargers.com.  Friday’s stream should occur around 5:00pm.

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