Manti Te'o's fake girlfriend isn't fake, says former Arizona Cardinals player

Nov 13, 2011; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Mauia (45) during warmups prior to playing the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 21-17. - Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Reagan Maui'a apparently is claiming that the fake/real/dead/alive girlfriend is real and that she was friends with him.

The story that has taken everybody by storm in the last 24 hours is the Manti Te'o story/hoax/confusion. So he had a girlfriend that died, but then she didn't really exist. He claims it is an elaborate hoax he is a victim of. All of those crazy details can be followed here.

The part that makes the story interesting from an angle dealing with the Arizona Cardinals. After all that mess came out about how this girl did not exist, Reagan Maui'a, a fullback who has been on and off the roster with the Cardinals, chimed in and said that this lady is real. Not only that -- he met her and was friends with her. The Big Lead pulled this from an ESPN story.

"This was before her and Manti," Maui'a said Wednesday evening. "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 said Tuiasosopo - whom Maui'a believes is Kekua's cousin - introduced the two. After the initial meeting, Mauia said he met her at an "after-party" for all of the athletes involved in the camp.

"She was tall," he said. "Volleyball-type of physique. She was athletic, tall, beautiful. Long hair. Polynesian. She looked like a model ... "

He said it is his understanding that Kekua's mother is operating her Twitter account. He said he'd never met her mother. When told by a reporter that she apparently might not have existed, Mau'a said "No, she is real."

I honestly don't know what to say about this story. This kid, who by all accounts is just a fabulous young man, is in the middle of what is truly the strangest thing ever to hit sports. At the same time...this is the most comforting weird story ever. There is no cheating, drugs, gambling, bullying or the like (this story beats the Lance Armstrong story, the Penn State situation and any and every PED issue).

But, holy freaking cow. This is the kind of thing a good novelist would put together and win awards for.

Keep up with Cardinals news and opinions when you are not on the site. Follow Revenge of the Birds on Twitter at @revengeofbirds and "like" us on Facebook. You can follow me individually at @senorjessroot.

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