Oakland Raiders fans decided to have some fun with San Diego Chargers rookie linebacker Manti Te’o on Sunday night. Fans in the infamous Black Hole had a banner made that was a tribute to Te’o’s fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua, whose “death” supposedly occurred on Sept. 12, 2012. They also completed the set of Te’o taunts by holding a cutout of Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who later admitted to masterminding the Te’o hoax. At some point these jokes will get old, but apparently we haven’t hit that point yet. Te’o actually played fairly well and was credited with five tackles in the loss, which marked his second career game.
For quite some time, the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax looked like it would be the story that never ends. The buzz has since died down, but Te’o has had to deal with some lingering heckling from minor league baseball teams and popular magazines. Apparently his former teammates have also faced questions about the alleged catfishing.
Houston Texans running back Cierre Wood, who was teammates with Te’o at Notre Dame last year, said a lot of people still ask him about Te’o’s fake girlfriend.
“Everybody asks me about Te’o,” Wood explained, via KHOU in Houston. “It’s something that I expected was going to happen. I got asked on the street a couple of times. I expected it from the locker room and what not.”
Those of you who still believe Te’o created the hoax himself — even after seeing Roniah Tuiasosopo recreate the Lennay Kekua voice on “Dr. Phil” — might be interested to hear that Wood actually spoke to the fake girlfriend once while at school.
“Yeah, I did,” Wood said when asked if he ever talked to Kekua. “I would come over to ask for a controller and he’d be like, ‘Come talk to my girl.’ It was on the computer screen and it was blank. I really don’t care. I heard someone talking, so I introduced myself, ‘Hi, I’m Cierre. How are you doing? Nice to meet you,’ and just went on about my business.”
Wood’s personal experience with the hoax is yet another example of how elaborate it was. At first, I thought for sure Te’o created the Kekua story for sympathy and attention. Now it seems pretty obvious that he was duped.
The NCAA reportedly is investigating Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel for allegedly getting paid to sign autographs in January. Manziel reportedly received a flat five-figure payment from memorabilia broker Drew Tieman, whom the quarterback met at the airport in Fort Lauderdale upon arriving in Florida to attend the BCS National Championship Game.
There are currently few details available on Tieman.
We were able to locate a Drew Tieman on Facebook, though the person’s page has now been deleted. On January 3, that Tieman shared a photo on Facebook of himself posing for a picture with former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o in Fort Lauderdale:
The same Drew Tieman who shared the above photo on Facebook appears to be the same Drew Tieman who was booked on Dec. 17, 2009 in Miami for possession of more than 20 grams of marijuana. The Drew Tieman who was booked in Dec. 2009 was charged with intent to distribute marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia.
The Manti Te’o jokes have grown old for the most part. Everyone’s got one, and it’s hard to come up with something new at this point. But we think Maxim hit a winner.
Maxim released its Hot 100 list this year and included Te’o’s fake girlfriend at No. 69. The image they used was a bikini hovering over some water. It’s the hope Te’o had that never came true.
When I first heard about Te’o’s fake girlfriend scoring a spot on the list, I honestly thought they selected the woman whose photos were stolen and used as the face of “Lennay Kekua.” She probably could have made it, too, but this was much better.
Just when it appeared that the smoke from the Manti Te’o fake girlfriend hoax may have nearly cleared, he went and began his career as an NFL linebacker. When the story first broke, the jokes were a dime a dozen. Some were hilarious and others were not all that creative, but Te’o was getting it from all angles.
The heckling has died down a bit, with more of the recent focus having been placed on his poor performance at the NFL Combine or what type of NFL prospect he really is. However, Steve Breen of the San Diego Union-Tribune has gotten things started again with his latest cartoon:
New Charger twitter.com/sdutBreen/stat…
— Steve Breen (@sdutBreen) April 30, 2013
Not bad. As one NFL player mentioned last month, Te’o is bound to be the butt of a lot of jokes in the locker room. Apparently the media is going to get in on the action as well. Like we said before, Te’o had better develop some incredibly thick skin if he wants to succeed at the professional level.
H/T Eye on Football
Manti Te’o is on high alert after getting fooled in the whole Lennay Kekua fake girlfriend hoax story.
According to Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter, Te’o told the media during a conference call that he thought his friends were playing a prank on him when he received a call from a California area code during the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday.
It turned out to be the San Diego Chargers calling to inform him they were selecting him with the 38th overall pick in the draft. Maybe Te’o read Tony Moeaki’s tweet during the week and was worried.
San Diego should actually be a good spot for Te’o. The media there is easy-going, there aren’t tabloids or paparazzi, and the fans will likely accept him. He also doesn’t have to worry about the pressure that comes with being a first-round pick. He probably could not have had a more favorable situation. And maybe one day he’ll also get to the point where he’s not worried about people trying to fool him.
Manti Te’o is one of the biggest question marks of the NFL Draft. While his stock fell following the National Championship Game and scouting combine, all it takes is one or two teams to believe in him for the former Notre Dame linebacker to be selected in the first round of the draft.
One thing I have noticed is that in many of the recently published mock drafts, the analysts/reporters have Te’o going to the Vikings at No. 25 overall.
Minnesota has two first-round picks. A lot of people are projecting them to take a wide receiver at No. 23 and then a defensive player at No. 25. Peter Schrager and Mike Mayock have them taking North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams at 25. SI’s Peter King projects the Vikings taking Te’o at 23 and a wide receiver at 25.
Rotoworld’s Evan Silva predicted Minnesota would take Te’o 25th. He included these good nuggets in his analysis:
ESPN is so confident Minnesota will draft Te’o that they’re sending a reporter to the Vikings’ Winter Park facility to have it covered live on Thursday night. Minnesota has a big need at middle linebacker, and GM Rick Spielman loves Notre Dame players, selecting four of them over the past five drafts.
ESPN’s John Clayton also reported on Thursday morning that the Vikings would like to find a way to draft Te’o in the first round.
Though various mock drafts projected Te’o to the Vikings, there is a possibility he doesn’t make it until when they pick. Both NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport and Stacey Dales are hearing that the Chicago Bears might want to take Te’o at No. 20 overall. Chicago needs some help at linebacker and could opt for one on the board, but does that necessarily mean they want Te’o? No. It’s possible that they are sending out those signs to make the Vikings panic into making a trade.