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Ex-NFL player Reagan Maui'a claims he met Manti Te'o's girlfriend

FootballSportsNFLReagan Maui'aESPN (tv network)Manti Te'oArizona Cardinals

Here's a bizarre twist to the already bizarre story about Notre Dame football player Manti Te'o's nonexistent girlfriend.

Someone claims to have seen her.

Former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui'a, who was released by the team on Oct. 30, told ESPN that he met Lennay Kekua in June 2011 while he and some of his teammates were doing charity work in American Samoa.

"This was before her and Manti," Maui'a said Wednesday evening, according to ESPN.com. "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."

Maui'a, who played college football at Hawaii and joined the NFL in 2007, told the website that he also saw Kekua at an "after-party" for the athletes who were abroad.

"She was tall," Mauia told ESPN.com. "Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model ... "

Mauia's account directly contradicts a Deadspin report Wednesday that blew up the Internet by claiming that Kakua wasn't a real person, but rather an online hoax.

Notre Dame shortly thereafter released a statement, saying that Te'o had been duped by what the university called "a sad and very cruel deception to entertain its perpetrators."

Te'o, in a written statement added: "To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating."

 ALSO:

Watch Manti Te'o speak about fake girlfriend

Manti Teo's story of girlfriend who died was a hoax

Manti Te'o hoax: Do you believe he is a victim? [Poll]

 

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