As the scandal surrounding Notre Dame football star Manti Te'o's "fake dead girlfriend" unfolds, some now question if the bizarre episode may damage his NFL prospects.

Te'o is at the center of a media circus questioning whether he knew that his California girlfriend -- whom he said died from leukemia after surviving a car crash -- was fake. He said they met online and carried on a relationship via email and phone, but on Wednesday published a bombshell report revealing the woman never existed.

Many theories abound, with the one given by the university and endorsed by the now-former college star saying that he was hoodwinked, caught in a scam by someone seeking fame at his expense. Other theories contend that he invented the story to gain sympathy for his Heisman Trophy campaign.

"To realize that I was the victim of what was apparently someone's sick joke and constant lies was, and is, painful and humiliating," Te'o said after the report.

Some experts say his NFL prospects may be diminished. "From our vantage point, part of what you liked about him is his character, his intangibles," an NFL scout told the Daily News.

More convoluted details emerged Thursday when Sports Illustrated published the full text of an interview with Te'o in September, in which he talks about his faux girlfriend. Those details were proved false in Deadspin's report.

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