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Manti Te'o meets with Giants: Source

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o runs a drill

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o runs a drill at the scouting combine. (Feb. 25, 2013) Credit: AP

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o visited with the Giants on Thursday night and then again on Friday as the team continues to finalize plans for the upcoming NFL draft, a person familiar with the Giants' situation confirmed.

It is uncertain at this point whether the Giants will draft Te'o.

Giants general manager Jerry Reese suggested at the Scouting Combine in February that the Giants would take a good look at Te'o, who was caught up in an internet hoax last year.

The Giants have the 19th overall pick in the first round, and Te'o is not projected to go that high. However, the Giants could take him with a lower-round pick if he's still available. The Giants have a need at linebacker after letting Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley go during the offseason, but did sign five-year veteran Dan Connor.

"We're more interested in what kind of football player he is than anything else," Reese told reporters at the Combine. "We'll investigate it and we'll see how it goes."

Reese also said that the team would "bring him in and we'll let him explain that situation for us."

Te'o acknowledged at the Combine, as well as in previous interviews, that he became caught up in an internet hoax commonly referred to as "catfishing." A man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo came up with an elaborate scheme in which Te'o developed an online relationship with a fictitious woman named Lennay Kekua. He realized he had been duped in late December, but didn't immediately report it to Notre Dame authorities.

"It should never get that way," Te'o said at the Combine when discussing his situation. "We have to realize we're all people, somebody is somebody's son, somebody is somebody's daughter. Would you want somebody doing that to your son? Would you want somebody doing that to your daughter? If not, why do it? Through this whole experience, I've learned that. Since I've experienced it, the things I see, the things I do, I try to always think 'That's somebody's son. That's somebody's daughter. That's somebody's mom, dad.' Whatever I do, try to base what I do off of that.

"It got overwhelming at times," the linebacker said. "The hardest part was not to see my first name but my last name. Everybody here, you treasure your last name. When you pass [away], that's the only thing that's left."

Te'o, who did not offer any more details about his online relationship, admitted he was embarrassed by the revelations when the story came out.

"It's definitely embarrassing to go through," he said. "You go into the grocery store and give people double-takes to see if they're staring at you. But that's part of the process, part of the journey."

Reese doesn't believe the online controversy should affect whether or not the Giants take him. Te'o ran a 4.82 in the 40-yard dash at the Combine, then improved to 4.69 at Notre Dame's pro day in March.

"I think you can overanalyze, you can have too much information," Reese said in February. "I think you can be careful with respect to that. I think there's people with a lot more issues than this issue."

Te'o, 22, was the runner-up to Texas A&M freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel in the Heisman Trophy balloting last year. In four years at Notre Dame, he had 437 tackles, 8 ½ sacks and two forced fumbles.

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