Te'o: Didn't sound like man

Posted: January 25, 2013

THE PERSON Manti Te'o says was pretending to be his online girlfriend told the Notre Dame linebacker "I love you" in voicemails that were played during his interview with Katie Couric.

Taped earlier this week and broadcast Thursday, the talk show featured three voicemails that Te'o claims were left for him last year. Te'o said they were from the person he believed to be Lennay Kekua, a woman he had fallen for online but never met face-to-face.

After the first message was played, Te'o said: "It sounds like a girl, doesn't it?"

"It does," Couric responded.

The interview was the All-America's first on-camera since his tale of inspired play after the deaths of his grandmother and girlfriend on the same day in September unraveled as a bizarre hoax on Jan. 16.

Couric addressed speculation that the tale was concocted by Te'o as a way to cover up his sexual orientation. Asked if he were gay, Te'o said "no" with a laugh. "Far from it. Faaaar from that."

The first voicemail, he said, was from what was supposed to be Kekua's first day of chemotherapy for leukemia. "Hi, I am just letting you know I got here and I'm getting ready for my first session and, um, just want to call you to keep you posted. I miss you. I love you. Bye," the person said.

Couric suggested the person who left those messages might have been Ronaiah Tuisasosopo, a 22-year-old man from California, who Te'o said has apologized to him for pulling the hoax.

"Well, it didn't sound like a man," Te'o said.

In other football news:

* Federal authorities say former Texas and NFL kicker Russell Erxleben has been arrested and charged with running an illegal investment scheme that raised more than $2 million. Erxleben, 56, was sentenced in 1999 to federal prison for an investment scam.

* No charges will be brought against Texas quarterback Case McCoy and linebacker Jordan Hicks after a reported sexual assault at a San Antonio hotel.

Figure Skating * 

Russian star Evgeni Plushenko fell in the short program and dropped out of the European figure skating championships with a back problem in Zagreb, Croatia.

Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir took a step toward their first pairs title at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, winning the short program in Omaha, Neb.

Philly File * 

The Union acquired midfielder Alex Mendoza, 22, a Harrisburg native who spent the last three seasons with Mexico's Pumas.

Sport Stops * 

Brandt Snedeker and K.J. Choi shared the lead after the first round of the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego. Tiger Woods was three shots back, at 68.

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