“Bizarre”. That is the only word I know how to describe the whole Manti Te\’o alleged fake internet girlfriend hoax story right now. If you have been hiding underneath a rock, I am not even going to try to rewrite the story up until this point. If you need to be brought up to speed on it, I highly suggest you read the full story that Deadspin broke earlier on Wednesday and go from there.
I wasn\’t even sure if I was going to post about this at all until the story got even weirder Wednesday night when the name of Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu was included in the latest report by ESPN.
According to that report, Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia said he believes Lennay Kekua existed because he met her in person when he, Polamalu, and other Polynesian teammates went to do charity work in American Samoa in June 2011.
“This was before her and Manti,” Mauia said Wednesday evening, according to the report. “I don\’t think Manti was even in the picture, but she and I became good friends. We would talk off and on, just checking up on each other kind of thing. I am close to her family. When she was going through the loss of her father, I was — I offered a comforting shoulder and just someone to bounce her emotions off. That was just from meeting her in Samoa.”
“She was tall,” he said. “Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model … ”
Crazy, crazy, crazy.
At no time in the story does Mauia say that Polamalu might have known or seen the female in question, so that is where that part of this bizarre story ends.
If you are like me, you are having a hard time wrapping your head around this whole Catfish angle.
Now on to Teo and his draft stock.
Prior to the National Championship game Teo was the darling of many Steelers fans as the draft talk started to ramp up. Spare me the, “I wasn\’t one of those people”, responses in the comments as it is not important if you were or weren\’t, and it is not a shot at anyone. My own Twitter feed is enough to know where many in the fanbase stood with him.
After the beat down that the Irish took from Alabama many, and not only Steelers fans, were jumping off the Teo bandwagon after his awful performance in that game. Now that this whole fake internet girlfriend story has broken many are wondering how far his stock will drop and if he his even on the Steelers radar right now.
For starters, the tape that I have had a chance to watch on Teo outside of the Alabama game is good and he now has somewhat of a built-in excuse for his play down in Miami. How he handles things from this point forward, along with how he performs at the NFL combine in February, will truly decide whether he remains a first round possibility for any team.
Should Teo get past all of the hard interview questions with teams in Indianapolis, and post good measurables, teams won\’t give a damn how many fake internet girlfriends that he has.
As one person put it on Twitter, NFL front offices and scouting departments make a living out of robbing banks. In other words, if they can steal a good player, they won\’t think twice about drafting Teo should he slide. So I think right now, depending of course on how Teo handles this mess moving forward, he will at worse drop to the early part of round two of the 2013 draft.
Now, is Teo a possibility for the Steelers? I am a ways away from trying to give you my answer to that question. I want to watch more tape on him first, see how the rest of this hoax story plays out, and see how he does at the combine before weighing in on that.
Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said on Wednesday that the decision to cut the recently arrested Chris Rainey was made based on the fact that the fifth-round running back had lost the trust of the organization.
The organization, however, still apparently has trust in fourth-round draft pick Alameda Ta\’amu following his DUI fiasco, and they also took a chance with tackle Mike Adams last year as well. With all of that said, I doubt seriously that Teo has been wiped completely off of their draft board right now, but I also bet that they will have plenty of questions for him when they interview him at the combine.
Let\’s just end this post by saying that the next several days and weeks will be very interesting to watch for the Irish linebacker that was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Can you imagine if he had actually won that award?