The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Sports

April 27, 2013

Chargers take Manti Te'o in 2nd round of NFL draft

(Continued)

On Dec. 26, Te'o notified Notre Dame officials that he had received a call from his supposedly dead girlfriend's phone three weeks earlier.

The school investigated and on Jan. 16 — after Deadspin.com broke the story of the fake girlfriend — athletic director Jack Swarbrick announced at a news conference that Te'o had been duped. Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, 22, later said he created the online persona of Lennay Kekua, a nonexistent woman whom Te'o said he fell in love with despite never meeting her in person.

Te'o struggled in Notre Dame's blowout loss in the national championship game to Alabama and its offense full of future NFL draft picks. One of those players, right tackle D.J. Fluker, was drafted by the Chargers with the 11th overall pick Thursday night.

Te'o said everything he's gone through has increased his passion for the game because "that's my sanctuary, that's my fortress where I'm most comfortable. All it has done is made me look forward to when I'm back on that field again."

Te'o will get plenty of attention before he even plays a game with the Bolts.

"This is going to be a football team. He's going to have to deal with it," McCoy said. "The situation came up, he'll deal with that. People are going to have questions, OK? That's happened. He's going to learn from it, very similar to a lot of other people in life. You make a mistake from time to time, whatever that is, and you move on. You learn from it. It might come up at some point in time, but we'll deal with it however we need to. But he's one of ours now and he's going to help us win a championship here."

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