Manti Te'o was back on the field playing linebacker for the first time since it was publicly revealed in January that he was the victim of a catfishing hoax, and his girlfriend never existed.

Finally, it wasn't about Lennay Kekua, the fake girlfriend, or Roniah Tuiasosopo, the man who masterminded the hoax. And it wasn't about the 40-yard dash, or the national championship game or draft speculation.

It was just practice, weightlifting and meetings, his first since the Chargers selected him in the second round of the draft last month.

"It's a new beginning, a new chapter in my life," Te'o said. "Once I got out there I think the nervousness left and it was all excitement. It was fun."

As one of two draft picks projected to start for the Chargers this season – the other is first-round pick right tackle D.J. Fluker – Te'o quickly moved into a leadership role at the rookie camp, which included 39 other players, a combination of draft picks, undrafted free agents and try-out players.

Te'o showed signs of nervousness early when he nearly tripped in front of a row of television cameras and bobbled a fumble during individual drills. He rallied, head coach Mike McCoy said, to put together a strong first practice.