SAN DIEGO — Linebacker Manti Te’o will miss the rest of the season with a torn left Achilles tendon, becoming the third big-name player for the San Diego Chargers to be shelved by a major injury in as many games.
Te’o, a fourth-year linebacker from Notre Dame, was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday’s 26-22 loss at Indianapolis, in which the Chargers once again blew a fourth-quarter lead.
His non-contact injury came a week after running back Danny Woodhead tore his right ACL in a home victory against Jacksonville. Wide receiver Keenan Allen suffered the same injury in a season-opening loss at Kansas City.
“It’s another one of those guys you feel for, the way he’s worked, what he’s done, what he means to our organization,” coach Mike McCoy said. “It’s a shame.”
Te’o was hoping to have a big season. He was selected as one of the team’s captains after leading the Chargers with 107 tackles last season.
“This is really tough, especially on me,” fellow inside linebacker Denzel Perryman said. “We were really close, that’s like my brother on and off the field. That’s big bro. On the sideline he pretty much told me, ‘It’s your team, take over.’ It’s pretty much what you do.”
“You lose one of your leaders on your defense,” Perryman said. “A guy like me, guys on the D-line, other linebackers, we’ve all got to step up, back into the secondary. Everybody has to step up. That’s a big loss on the defense, but we have to step up.”
Rookie Jatavis Brown filled in for Te’o and forced a fumble by Andrew Luck that defensive tackle Caraun Reed returned 61 yards for a touchdown.
“Jatavis loves to play the game and you love his effort, the way he runs to the football,” McCoy said. “There’s some wow factor to him.”
Once again, the Chargers (1-2) failed to protect a late lead.
“I would say it was more self-inflicted,” McCoy said. “I mean, give them credit for the way they we played, but we missed a number of opportunities and didn’t play as well against a good team.”
The Chargers have lost 10 of their last 11 road games dating to the final game of 2014.
They host their former quarterback, Drew Brees, and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
The Chargers still don’t know when they’ll see their first-round draft pick, defensive end Joey Bosa, in action. Bosa missed all of training camp during a nasty contract dispute and then pulled a hamstring after signing. He went through his first padded practice last Wednesday, but was limited all week and missed his third straight game.
“When Joey’s ready to go cut it loose and be Joey and play out there and help our team win games, he’ll be out there,” McCoy said.
Follow Bernie Wilson on Twitter at http://twitter.com/berniewilson