Former Cardinal finds way into Te’o mystery

Posted by Darren Urban on January 17, 2013 – 7:49 am

So, unless you’ve been under a rock, you know by now about the crazy story about Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o and the story of his dead girlfriend, which turned out to be a hoax. (And if you haven’t read Deadspin’s excellent report, here you go.) There wasn’t much yesterday that was going to knock Lance Armstrong and Chip Kelly off the national stage, but the Te’o story did it.

Unbelievably, at least from this corner of the sports world, the Cardinals have a tie to the story. Last night, ESPN tracked down former Cardinals fullback Regan Maui’a and Maui’a said he had actually met the girl. The girl that Te’o, Deadspin and Notre Dame all acknowledge didn’t exist. Um, OK.

From ESPN’s story, Maui’a said he thought she existed because he met her in person doing charity work in American Samoa in June, 2011, with, among other people, Steelers safety Troy Polomalu. (ESPN is calling Maui’a “Cardinals fullback” and while Maui’a has been back quite a few times, he isn’t on the roster right now.)

“This was before her and Manti,” Maui’a said. “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.”

Wow. You can peel the layers of this onion for a long time.

This isn’t going away anytime soon. Everyone is going to be digging for more and more answers. I am surprised Notre Dame came out talking about it and backing Te’o so forcefully. We’ll see how it unravels.

As for as Te’o’s draft stock — he will be drafted in April — my guess is, no matter what his involvement, it won’t matter much. Will some teams red flag him? Sure. But as always, if he can play, someone will want him, and if he can play well, someone will want him early in the draft. That’s how this works.

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17 Responses to “Former Cardinal finds way into Te’o mystery”

  1. By georgiebird on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    You have to be consistent.
    With the Te’o situation, you come right out and call it a fraud. That’s fine and you MAY be right.
    But when someone asks you a question about the various Cardinals’ situations, you become a “let’s wait and see” guy.
    So, with the same conviction you go after the Te’o story, you should be that way in giving answers about the Cardinals.
    (and I’m NOT a ND fan)

  2. By Darren Urban on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Te’o

    Um, it is a fraud. I didn’t say who perpetrated it, but it is fact it was a hoax. Deadspin broke the story, but both Te’o and Notre Dame confirmed that in their statements/press conference.

    This isn’t just opinion here. I assume you read the stories? Because it doesn’t sound like you did (unless you’re just trying to use it as a way to take a shot at me.)

  3. By jocards on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Well it’d be interesting to sit in on his “interviews” with NFL teams….Ink blots and word association? I’m guessing it’ll go a bit deeper than that…..If he wasn’t in on it then just imagine teams running play action against him! How about a reverse?!? LOL! Bizarre story to say the least….

  4. By blaxabbath on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    As a fan and a former-adolescent, do I really care? We’re past the Vick issues, the Carson Palmer “I’d rather sit than play for CIN” issues, and the Ray Lewis issues. Pacman Jones, Ocho Cinco, Ben Roethlisberger…the list goes on. Look, I don’t want to be a part of players’ personal lives unless they invite me in (ex: So-and-So Foundation Dinners). Granted, inviting everyone in is exactly what Te’o (using the media) did, but outside of it making for a heck of a story, it was a victimless prank.

    As a TMZ fanatic, I love a juicy celebrity gossip story.

    That said, this is a strange enough story with just Te’o but now to see Maui’a’s comments, I don’t know what to say. Maybe he’s washed up and is trying to get some of that media attention Te’o has. Maybe he honestly confused the fake girl with one he had actually met (long shot, I know). But Maui’a is old news. Any team worth it’s guff is either: (a) focused on their game this weekend, or (b) planning for next year. If ARI didn’t have such glaring offensive needs, I’d love to see Te’o come here. Heck, what every team needs is a defender who will stop at nothing to win.

    I guess any sort of Karma would put him in OAK, JAX, or CLE just so he can spend the next few seasons as the Sisyphus of the NFL, reliving the ‘Bama game 12 to 15 times a year.

  5. By jocards on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Well I suppose a lot of us have had uhhhh,” imaginary girlfriends” at one time or another but this is ridiculous!

  6. By Safety Guy on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    FYI looks like coach wisenhunt was passed over for oc position in denver

  7. By erik on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    I think georgiebird just likes taking shots at you, Darren. I wouldn’t worry about it. Everyone will start being nice once the Cardinals win… Which can’t happen for eight months :/

  8. By Cactus jeff on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    I just found out there is no Darren Urban! Did some research and found out he is a 5th grader in Mesa. Plays in a band called “Loaded Diapers”. We have been Catfished!

  9. By John The Draft Guy on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    This is as crazy as it gets. I wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss his psychiatric state as a non issue in the draft. Let’s give a guy, who isn’t all there, millions of dollars and expect nothing else will happen. Remember the guy for the raiders who missed the superbowl . Or the tragic story in KC. To make up a dead girl friend is not sane.

    Will he get drafted in the first round? most likely. Has NFL teams overlooked issues before and taken guys who have done far worse to real girlfriends? Yes.
    But I would be out if I’m Keim.

    Besides, the thing that will really hurt him is the Bama tape. He refused to take on blockers in the hole, instead choosing a side and easily blocked. He dove at ankles and made poor attempts at tackles when he wasn’t blocked. If you just looked at one game and based his draft on that, I wouldn’t draft him at all.

  10. By johnnybluenose on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    so, whiz lands in san diego. at least he has a quarterback there who has proven in the past that he can play very well. for whiz’s sake i hope rivers still has something left. otherwise, whiz may deem it necessary to declare the need for a competition at the quarterback position. we all know how well that has worked in the past. i guess this means that mister bidwill is not on the hook for all of the five or so million dollars that whiz was due this year. that’s good.

  11. By nrock on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    honestly i can care less if he made up the story, of his “girlfriend” or not. That really shouldn’t take a toll on his draft status it’s not like he’s out there slinging dope getting in fights at bars, or things that should ruin his status. What matters is if the boy can play ball. If he wants to make up a story… LET HIM! Who is it really affecting? Lets say he has a vivid imagination. Really I’d love to see him on our defense so if this ruins how high he’s drafted oh well, we snag him and have another extra ordinary piece to our dominant offense. Of course get our offense together first and if he is still on the board than obviously its natural selection take the best player.

  12. By clssylssy on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    …ah no, I haven’t read, heard or followed this soap opera garbage beyond seeing a few headlines and deciding it was tabloid trash. That being said, much of the “legitimate” sports news these days is also little more than tabloid trash of no substance. Seems like every offseason brings a sense of desperation and we get a constant diet of “Wiretapgate”, “Bountygate” etc., etc., …geez!

  13. By JAKE on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Keep the Cardinals out of this mess.

  14. By AndyStandsUp on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Te’o’s girlfriend really did die; they got the name wrong, though.
    It was Fawn Liebowitz and she died in a kiln accident – making a pot for him.

  15. By georgiebird on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Re: Te’o
    Not trying to take a shot- the question is ” Was it a fraud as far as Te’o is concerned? Did he think the “girl” was real. While it is almost certain that the “girl” was a fraud, that has nothing to do with how big the story has become.

  16. By Darren Urban on Jan 17, 2013 | Reply

    Georgie —

    RE: Te’o

    It is a fraud. He came out and said he found out in December she didn’t exist. Doesn’t matter what he thought before. However it played out, it’s a fact now.

  17. By Gerald Jones on Jan 18, 2013 | Reply

    Theme Song for Manti Te’o:


    You stepped out of a dream

    Stepped out of a dream,
    You are too wonderful
    To be what you seem.

    Could there be eyes like yours?
    Could there be lips like yours?
    Could there be smiles like yours,
    Honest and truly?

    Stepped out of a cloud,
    I want to take you away
    Away from the crowd,

    And have you all to myself,
    Alone and apart.
    Out of a dream
    Safe in my heart.

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