NEW YORK (AP) - ESPN says Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o maintains he was never involved in creating the dead girlfriend hoax that shocked football fans across the country.
Te'o made the remarks in an off-camera interview Friday night, saying that when people hear the facts they'll know he couldn't be part of the ruse.
The comments were Te'o's first public remarks since Deadspin.com exposed that his girlfriend, who supposedly died in September of leukemia, did not exist. Te'o did not appear on camera.
Notre Dame and Te'o insist he was the victim of a cruel joke, but questions remain about why the All-American never disclosed publicly he was involved with a girl he knew only online and by telephone, and never verified her death.