Question is ...
Manti Te'o is already getting support from NFL players -- including a Baltimore Ravens linebacker -- who says he would WELCOME Manti to the team with open arms ... 'cause the dude CAN BALL.
TMZ spoke with Ravens linebacker Adrian Hamilton -- who broke the Manti draft dilemma down to our photog.
Photog: Would you want [Manti] on your team?
AH: Is he a good linebacker?
AH: Then why wouldn't we want him?
Hamilton explains that all the drama surrounding "Lennay Kekua" is irrelevant ... 'cause it's what Te'o can do ON the field that matters.
3:15 PM PT -- The 49ers organization is speaking out AGAINST Culliver ... saying the team "rejects" Chris' comments.
A rep for the 49ers says the team has already addressed the matter with Chris ... and adds, "There is no place for discrimination within our organization at any level."
"We have and always will proudly support the LGBT community.”
Gay football players are NOT welcome in the San Francisco 49ers locker room ... at least according to one current 49ers player.
Chris Culliver -- who started 6 games as cornerback for the team this season -- made the homophobic comments to Artie Lange during a radio interview at a Super Bowl media event earlier this week.
When asked if gay players would be welcome on the team, Culliver said ... "I don't do the gay guys man. I don't do that."
Artie then asked if Chris knew of any gay players on his team ... to which Culliver answered, "No, we don't got no gay people on the team, they gotta get up out of here if they do."
He continued, "Can't be with that sweet stuff. Nah … can't be … in the locker room man. Nah."
Culliver also said ... if a gay player were to make it in the NFL, he should not only keep his sexuality a secret from the other players ... but stay quiet for 10 YEARS after that.
Culliver and the 49ers will take the field on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens -- a team which features a very outspoken pro-gay rights advocate Brendon Ayanbadejo.
Culliver's feelings are NOT shared by his entire team ... earlier this week, several members of the 49ers spoke in SUPPORT of gay players ... including coach Jim Harbaugh.
“I ask all players to play through their own personality and be who they are. What you ask of a player is to be a great teammate and be a good player. My expectations would be the same,” Harbaugh said. “Personally, there’s no discrimination in my heart.”
Linebacker Larry Grant echoed Harbaugh ... saying, "At the end of the day, we are all family in this locker room, and we accept each player for whoever they are."
Ditto for cornerback Tarell Brown ... who said, "Whatever makes you happy, do it. I just feel like, you shouldn’t hide it. At the end of the day don’t be embarrassed with what you are, or what you do. If you are that way, that’s you.”
Earlier this year, several members of the team participated in a video for the "It Gets Better" campaign to provide support for the LGBT community. Culliver was not featured in the video.
San Francisco 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh has arrived in New Orleans for the Super Bowl ... and spent the day hanging out with his family ... well, most of his family.
Harbaugh -- along with his wife and some of his kids -- dropped by the famous Cafe du Monde ... sportin' some 49ers gear.
Fun Fact -- Jim isn't just taking on his brother ... his OWN SON Jay Harbaugh works for the Baltimore Ravens organization.
Talk about a family divided ...
UFC wrecking machine Jon Jones isn't the only professional athlete in his family -- in fact, his older brother is a stud in the NFL ... and will be starting in the SUPER BOWL!!!
Jones -- the reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion -- was out in New York yesterday when we asked about his older bro Arthur Jones -- the starting defensive end for the Baltimore Ravens.
"My brother's in the Super Bowl," Jon exclaimed ... "It's crazy man ... it's unbelievable."
When asked how his bro is preparing for the big game, Jon told us, "He's focused ... relaxing with his family, staying hungry ... studying the guy he's going up against."
Jon -- who recently signed a blockbuster sponsorship deal with Nike -- also broke some news for all you shoe freaks out there ... telling us he might have his own sneaker coming out in the near future.
Almost as exciting as having your brother playing in the Super Bowl ... right?
Problem is ... the Pats weren't as injured as Damon made them out to be.
Matt -- a Boston-native -- had just arrived at LAX last night when someone asked why his team folded in the AFC Championship this past Sunday.
"Lotta injuries," Damon said ... "They couldn't beat us full strength."
Obviously, the Pats were missing Rob Gronkowski going into Sunday's game ... but that's really their only big-time guy who was sidelined with an injury (forearm).
A couple of important Pats players were hurt DURING the matchup -- including CB Aqib Talib and RB Stevan Ridley ... but hey, that's part of the game, right?
But when Damon was asked who he's rooting for in the Super Bowl -- the Ravens or the 49ers -- he still refused to acknowledge defeat ... saying, "I'm going for a healthy New England team, that's the best team in the country."
FYI -- Damon couldn't have been NICER at the airport, signing autographs for EVERYONE who asked ... and doing it all with a smile.
Wes Welker's wife should NEVER have said a peep about Ray Lewis ... this according to another famous (ex-)wife of the sporting world ... Linda Hogan ... who tells TMZ, it's never okay for an athlete's lady to be such a sore loser in public.
In case you missed it ... Wes' wife -- Anna Burns Welker -- went off on Lewis via Facebook after the Ravens dashed the Pats' Super Bowl chances. She later apologized ... but not before the personal jabs were already delivered.
Now Linda -- a former athlete's wife herself (kind of) -- is dishing out some jabs of her own ... calling Anna's outburst "way uncool."
According to Linda, Anna can say whatever she wants behind closed doors ... but "in a public situation, [athletes' wives] don't really have a place to make an opinion."
There you have it, straight from the Hogan's mouth.
Jim Harbaugh and John Harbaugh squaring off in the Super Bowl is a historic matchup that's still, inexplicably, less interesting than Casey Anthony and Django ... to some people.
Check out TMZ on TV -- click here to see your local listings!
12:00 PM PT -- Anna just posted an apology ... "I apologize to Ray Lewis and his family for my comments. In no way did I mean for them to be mean or hurtful. I'm embarrassed for being a sore loser. I wish Ray and the Ravens good luck. Lesson learned!"
Wes Welker's wife hates Ray Lewis ... and not just because the Ravens beat the Patriots yesterday ... it's 'cause she thinks he's a terrible human being ... and she made her feelings known on Facebook.
After Sunday's AFC Championship game ... Anna Burns Welker went to her Facebook page and posted the following message:
"Proud of my husband and the Pats. By the way, if anyone is bored, please go to Ray Lewis' Wikipedia page. 6 kids 4 wives. Acquitted for murder. Paid a family off. Yay. What a hall of fame player! A true role model!"
The post has since been deleted.
FYI -- Lewis was charged with murder back in 2000 for his involvement in a fight that resulted in two deadly stabbings ... but the murder charge was dropped as part of a plea deal.
Oh yeah, the four wives thing ... Lewis has never been married -- but he does have six kids with four different women.
And you don't want to get on his bad side.
Fact is, Anna should've known better -- because last year after the Super Bowl, Tom Brady's wife Gisele Bundchen blasted Wes Welker for dropping a key pass ... and people trashed her for it.
The lesson ... when NFL wives talk, people listen.