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Cierre Wood says he spoke to Manti Teo’s fake girlfriend Lennay Kekua

manti teo notre dameFor 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.

Florence Freedom giving away Lennay Kekua bobblehead dolls (Picture)

Florence-Freedom-Lennay-Kekua-bobblehead

The Manti Te’o fake girlfriend story may have gotten old by now for many of us, but that hasn’t stopped people from using it to make money.  The Florence Freedom, an independent baseball team in the Frontier League, will be holding a giveaway that is not actually a giveaway on Thursday evening — it’s more like a joke.

As you can see from the photo above that Darren Rovell passed along, the Freedom are giving away Lennay Kekua bobblehead dolls to the first 1,000 fans who arrive at their ballpark on Thursday. Since Kekua didn’t actually exist, the box is empty and simply has her name on it.

Te’o has already had to hear it from airline companieshotel chains and the San Diego media, so we might as well keep it going until we see what he can do in the NFL. The bobblehead giveaway is a pretty clever idea, but nothing is going to beat Maxim’s latest Hot 100 list that took the ultimate shot at the former Notre Dame linebacker.

Manti Te’o's fake girlfriend makes Maxim’s Hot 100 list

Manti Te'o girlfriend Maxim

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.

San Diego media already taking shots at Manti Te’o for girlfriend hoax

Manti Te'o combineJust 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:

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

Catfish creator Nev Schulman believes Manti Te’o's story

manti teo notre dameOver two months have passed since Manti Te’o's relationship with Lennay Kekua was exposed as a fraud, and still some people don’t know what to believe. NFL teams had to decide whether they could trust the former Notre Dame linebacker when evaluating him as a draft prospect.

One thing Te’o has going for him is that Nev Schulman, the creator of the show “Catfish” and someone who once fell for a hoax, believes Te’o's story.

“Unfortunately my opinion on the matter is pretty tame. I think just like Manti says, he got involved in this relationship and started out as a small correspondence and it grew and grew. The more someone opens up to you the more inclined you are to open to them. Then all of a sudden when they are the victim of illnesses and car accidents you feel the need to be there for them, as they would for you. And before you know it you’re in a relationship. So I don’t think there was much of a deeper plotline, but of course one never knows,” Schulman told The Wall Street Journal.

Schulman told The Journal that his experience of being fooled was similar to Manti’s, and even involved a car accident story.

People will believe what they want, but I’m inclined to think like Schulman and believe Te’o's story. Maybe some teams believe Te’o's story while others do not. That’s probably one of many reasons his stock has fallen in the draft. Between a poor combine showing, poor national championship game, and the hoax, teams seemed to be scared away from the linebacker.

Some people think Te’o may go late first round, whereas others feel that is unlikely because he does not project as a three-down linebacker in the pros. We’re guessing he ends up selected late in the first round.

See all the stories related to the Manti Te’o hoax.

Manti Te’o: I don’t see how girlfriend hoax takes away from what I did on the field

manti-teoManti Te’o was once a can’t-miss NFL prospect, but now he has more to prove than most players in the nation when the NFL scouting combine begins on Wednesday. Because of a certain situation with a young lady who never actually existed, NFL teams have a number of questions about the former Notre Dame linebacker.

Does the girlfriend Hoax affect who Te’o is as a player? He says it does not.

“I have to just go out there and perform and all that other stuff is behind me,” he told USA TODAY Sports on Monday. “What I did on the field is what I did on the field. I don’t think what I did with this whole situation, I don’t understand how it takes away from what I did on the field.

“As far as my stock dropping or rising, that’s not up to me. The only thing I have to do is just do well, run fast, just be myself, be quick.”

As we know, performance on the field is hardly all NFL teams are interested in. Te’o played one of his worst games of the season in the BCS National Championship Game against Alabama, and that almost certainly happened because he was distracted. Since the Lennay Kekua hoax was one of the biggest stories of the year, NFL teams have to be wondering if the distraction will ever be fully gone.

“I didn’t do anything illegal,” Te’o said. “I didn’t break any rules, I didn’t hurt anybody. I just wasn’t very forthcoming, as forthcoming as I should have been but in that, I didn’t do anything wrong.

“I have to just be myself. For me, the greatest fault would be to tell somebody something I’m not. And when it’s time to do the interviews, just be myself and everything will fall into place.”

Let’s not forget that one NFL team asked a college player about his mother being a prostitute. Is that information needed to know whether or not that player would be effective at the NFL level? Probably not, but the point is NFL teams worry and ask about everything. Will reporters still be asking about Teo’s fake girlfriend when minicamp begins this summer or the summer after? That is the question that could keep Te’o's draft stock a bit lower than it would have been months ago.

Ronaiah Tuiasosopo’s voice matches the Lennay Kekua voicemail (Video)

ronaiah tuiasosopo voiceRonaiah Tuiasosopo was asked during his interview on “Dr. Phil” to perform the Lennay Kekua voice and initially appeared hesitant. Tuiasosopo, who was the mastermind behind the Manti Te’o girlfriend hoax, eventually agreed to recreate the voicemails Kekua left for the former Notre Dame linebacker, so long as he could perform in private conditions.

On Friday, Dr. Phil’s show aired the recreated voicemails attempted by Tuiasosopo. The two voices appeared to be a match:

Compare that to this voicemail Kekua supposedly left for Te’o on Sept. 11:

It seems like Tuiasosopo’s lawyer was telling the truth when he said the young man was responsible for the female voice. Sure, it’s possible that Tuiasosopo had family members assist him during the hoax, but it looks like he did most of the work.

Video via Bro Bible