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Manti Te'o

Yeah I Lied

... But I Had To

1/18/2013 1:00 AM PST BY TMZ STAFF
EXCLUSIVE

0118-mante-teo-getty-irish
Manti Te'o is telling friends ... he knew the truth about Lennay Kekua in early December ... but continued the lie for 20 days for the sake of his team.

Sources connected to Te'o say ... it's true what ND Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick said Wednesday night, that Manti realized he had been hoaxed on Dec. 6, when he got a phone call from "Lennay" ... months after he thought she was dead.

But sources tell us ... Manti didn't tell his coaches about the hoax until Dec. 26 ... because he thought it would be a huge distraction while the team prepared to face Alabama in the BCS Championship.

During the 20 days, we're told Manti struggled over how to handle the situation ... but eventually felt compelled to come clean to his coaches.

Manti is currently training for the NFL combine -- and we're told he's getting a lot of support from the guys he's been training with.

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104 COMMENTS

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46.

many voices    

Great Kid, Lets give him a break and not let the press ruin his pro chances before it gets started. Class act kid that tried to protect his team from a hoax played on him.

640 days ago
47.

I am Spartacus    

anyone who's been around the kid knew he was pretty authentic. He had almost a Tebow like character so i doubt he was this mastermind to gain even more publicity for a Heisman trophy. He was a senior, star, Linebacker for an undefeated Notre Dame team. That by itself is enough to make the media cream their pants. His grandmother really died so he didn't need an extra death to play up as a story. He got scammed. The kid who scammed him probably thought it was funny scamming Manti Te'o but never anticipated him and Notre Dame having such a season they did to where the girlfriend story would be getting so much attention. It became too big, he broke the news. Te'o felt like an idiot. Had to just run with it for the BCS game or else that's all anyone would have talked about before the game. Think of how big that distraction would have been for the team.

640 days ago
48.

kim    

Oh my do you think Lance Armstrong did this to Te'o ?

640 days ago
49.

kerrplunk    

And you want an NFL team to dump millions of dollars into him? Pass! Wacky

640 days ago
50.

tleeg    

Wait a second....didnt he just say 2 days ago he was duped and wasnt lying? Wow...i love how stories flip flop with these morons.

640 days ago
51.

helloitsme    

So what? This guy is just a college football player. I can't believe he's getting this much attention from TMZ. He's not a celebrity. It must be a small news week!

640 days ago
52.

foreverOnline    

Made up girlfriend, what a lame ass.

640 days ago
53.

Pittslady    

Ok so?
We all should have FAKE spouses and partners.
No problem, I know for lonely people there are what is called a REAL DOLL and they cost over $5,000.00 each and more if you get a really expensive realistic one..but hey! She/he will always be quiet and be there for you right?
And I think some can be made to resemble a star/celeb...
I saw a guy with one on a cable show and maybe on the show Anderson? The same episode where the guy who loves his red car?

640 days ago
54.

SusanS    

This kid needs some serious time with a shrink.

640 days ago
55.

rlemons    

Oh my god who's cares if he kept it a secret! Get over it people

640 days ago
56.

SEH     

Had to lie? Was he threatened? Would he have been fired? Thinking you would distract your teammates is not something that can "force" someone to lie. Now I am sorry, but that is a bunch of crap.

640 days ago
57.

Jenna5960    

Why do we care? People fake personalities online all the time.

640 days ago
58.

yikes    

Forget Manti, why is no one looking into the football player who claims that "Lennay" is real and that he and Troy Polamalu met her before Manti was in the picture? Or the fact that someone posted from "her" twitter saying that it was unfair to bring the other football player and Troy into this? No one seems to have bothered to ask this guy to elaborate on his story that he met her and became close to her and her family.

640 days ago
59.

sister278    

.Where is your warrior costume now, dude? I bet your parents are proud of you. What a disgrace.

640 days ago
60.

HillbillyHell    

Used to tell friends I had great sex with the wife. It was 'fake'...in actuality, we had sex...if I was lucky...once a month.

640 days ago
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