A story broke yesterday afternoon that is likely going to take months to clear up (and we may never know the full story). Deadspin published a story that exposed Notre Dame LB and Heisman Trophy runner-up Manti Te’o’s fraudulent tale of a dead girlfriend. The woman never existed. There is no record of Stanford student Lennay Kekua's death which was covered by many news outlets when Te'o announced her passing. There is no record of an obituary or any sort of funeral announcement. The Stanford newspaper made no mention of the supposed passing of one of their own.
Back in early September, Te’o informed the world that he had lost his girlfriend to leukemia. She was apparently the love of Manti’s life and the two had kept in touch online. He had originally claimed he had met her after a football game in 2009.
If you’re at all confused, trust me, you’re not alone. This is the type of story that has many layers to it and we’ll be lucky to see even a hint of the actual truth. Te’o released a statement yesterday where he claimed that he was "the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke." This is the same guy who provided heartbreaking stories to the media during this past football season detailing his nights on the phone with his sick girlfriend. If someone did, in fact, trick him, then they are some seriously heartless people. Late last night, aspiring journalist Justin Megahan discovered some Tweets from a month ago of two people discussing their diabolical scheme against Manti Te’o.
Manti said that this was a woman he “truly loved” but apparently not enough to go to her funeral - but he did send flowers to...somewhere. Just how much of the situation Te’o really knew is beyond me. I have to believe he had a little more knowledge of it all than he would like for us to believe, either that or he’s extremely gullible and ignorant. Notre Dame apparently was informed of the scandal shortly after this past Christmas. Multiple sources reported that ESPN knew of the story for over a week before it broke yesterday. It’s all very fishy and who knows what other details will emerge over the coming days.
• Some NFL coaching vacancies were filled yesterday as the Philadelphia Eagles ended up getting their guy after all. Oregon coach Chip Kelly had initially said he would remain with the Ducks, but apparently had a change of heart as he will be the next head coach of the Eagles. The offensive innovator will have a lot of work to do with an Eagles team that has missed the playoffs each of the past two years. The Chicago Bears finished their coaching search as well as they hired Marc Trestman out of the Canadian Football League. Trestman, who had coached the Montreal Alouettes since 2008 with a 64-34 record, won two Grey Cup championships in 2009 and 2010 along with a CFL Coach of the Year award in 2009. Trestman has NFL experience as he was the offensive coordinator in San Francisco with Steve Young and Jerry Rice playing for him and also the Oakland Raiders in 2002. He helped QB Rich Gannon garner an MVP award en route to a Super Bowl loss for the Raiders. Trestman has already brought in former Dallas Cowboys’ special teams coach Joe DeCamillis to fill the same position for the Bears as well as New Orleans' interim head coach last season Aaron Kromer to be his offensive coordinator.
• The Washington Nationals continue to make moves this offseason as they signed RP Rafael Soriano to a two-year deal worth $28 million. Soriano had 42 saves for the Yankees filling in for Mariano Rivera in 2012. They also dealt 1B/OF Michael Morse to the Seattle Mariners for pitching prospect A.J. Cole and additional prospects. To complete the deal, Seattle also sent catcher John Jaso to the Oakland Athletics. This is a solid move by Seattle to get a big bat in their weak lineup and a move Washington had to make as they go forward with Tyler Moore and Adam LaRoche. Seattle will now incorporate two newcomers in 2013 with Morse and Kendrys Morales splitting 1B/DH duties.
• LeBron James became the youngest player in NBA history (28 years-old) to reach 20,000 points last night as the Heat beat the Golden State Warriors 92-75. LeBron needed 18 points to reach the milestone and ended up with 25 in the victory. Regardless of how you feel about the man, there is no denying LeBron James is one of the most gifted players to ever play the game of basketball. It’ll be very interesting to see just how high on the list of all-time scoring leaders he ends up. It is not out of the realm of possibility for him to beat out Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s record of 38,387 points.
• Two American League powerhouses had some good news to report yesterday. The New York Yankees announced the franchise’s all-time hits leader Derek Jeter was cleared for baseball activities after he broke his ankle last October during the playoffs. The Texas Rangers avoided arbitration with their All-Star SP Matt Harrison as they signed him to a five-year $55 million contract. The new workhorse for the Rangers' rotation won a team-high 18 games in 2012 as he has pitched almost 400 innings the past two years combined. The lefty also declined an invitation to play for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic as he prepares to establish himself as the Rangers' number two starter.
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