Former teammates provide insight on Manti Te'o situation

By  | 

Former teammates of Manti Te'o paint are providing some insight on the star Notre Dame linebacker.

The sources did not say Manti was a bad person, they simply indicated that Manti wasn't perfect--and painted a picture of Manti different than what the general public grew to know. To be fair--who is---even Manti himself has said he certainly does not see himself as perfect.

The former teammates indicated Te'o did like the attention he was receiving, however. They stressed that the media made more of the relationship than they thought it was and were confused when Te'o went along with it.

Over the past year, teammates would ask Manti about Lennay Kekua, the supposed girlfriend of Te'o's who Te'o said died of leukemia in September just hours after his grandmother also passed away.

One source said Manti was always reserved about the information about Lennay. The source pointed out teammates did not press Manti too much. Manti did tell teammates he and Lennay would meet up in person in Hawaii but never would be willing to give anything more.

On Wednesday, the world learned Lennay never existed. Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick says the relationship was built online and on the phone and that Manti was the victim of an elaborate hoax.

Well before this information came out and even before Lennay "died", the sources say teammates grew suspicious of the relationship between Manti and Lennay---not understanding what it was really about---and feeling something was quote "fishy."

The former teammates indicated that Manti's childhood friend and teammate Robby Toma never really had any information either, indicating Toma was kind of out of the loop too. At workouts for an all-star game in Alabama, Toma declined to do any interviews. Who can blame him.

Asked if they thought Manti was behind all of this, the former teammates said they just had no idea. They both admitted to being confused over the situation and not understanding what the truth really is.

One said--his best guess.... is Manti got caught into this, then started embellishing it and his family went along with it -- but the source stressed that was just a guess.

Te'o has yet to talk about the situation outside of a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon.