Notre Dame wide-out Robby Toma, Manti Teo's best friend, tries out for Ravens

Former Notre Dame wide receiver Robby Toma hit the Ravens' practice field over the weekend, auditioning for the Super Bowl champions on a tryout basis.

Although undersized at 5 feet 9, 180 pounds, Toma is quick and catches the football well.

"It's definitely surreal getting a chance to step into the Ravens' locker room, especially knowing how great the organization is and getting a chance to work with coach [John] Harbaugh and receivers coach [Jim] Hostler," said Toma, who caught 24 passes for 252 yards as a senior to finish his career with 60 receptions for 667 yards and a touchdown in four seasons. "I'm glad I got a chance to experience it."

Toma has a unique perspective on one of the most scrutinized players in the draft, his best friend: San Diego Chargers second-round middle linebacker Manti Te'o.

Te'o and Toma were high school teammates at Punahou School, growing up together in Hawaii.

"It would be nice to finally get a chance to compete against him," Toma said. "I'll be rooting for him no matter what."

It bothered Toma that Te'o was the subject of so much controversy due to an Internet hoax involving a fake girlfriend. Toma said Te'o insisted that he not speak out to stick up for him, emphasizing that he would handle the situation.

"I talked to him the night everything kind of unfolded and he was really high in spirits. That's the kind of person he is, that's how he was raised, that's how we all were raised," Toma said. "It was frustrating because of all people I knew the truth because I know Manti better than anyone else.

"He told me to stay out of the media and that he'll do it on his own. It was frustrating being his best friend and not being able to help him. You know how it is in the media. It was real bad. It was definitely tough, but he's a great person."

awilson@baltsun.com

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