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Troy Polamalu 'unfairly dragged into' Manti Te'o drama

| Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013, 1:52 p.m.

Steelers safety Troy Polamalu had no involvement in the fictitious girlfriend story involving Notre Dame star Manti Te'o, according to NFL fullback Reagan Maui'a.

At a news conference Wednesday night, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said an investigative firm found that Te'o had only an online relationship with the woman — who did not exist — and that several people perpetuated the hoax.

Te'o gave multiple interviews during his career about the alleged girlfriend, who supposedly went to Stanford and died of leukemia within hours of the passing of Te'o's grandmother last season.

The girlfriend also was said to have been in a serious car accident, although no reports of the crash ever surfaced. In fact, Stanford officials say they have never heard of Lennay Kekua.

Even as a Deadspin.com article posted Wednesday revealed that Kekua didn't exist, Maui'a, who played for the Cardinals last season, told ESPN.com he met her in person when he and other Polynesian teammates and Polamalu did charity work in American Samoa in June 2011.

However, Maui'a posted a Twitter message Thursday reading, “Troy Polamalu did not meet or know of her @ all. He's been unfairly dragged into this and & has absolutely no involvement.” Maui'a said he was done giving interviews about the story.

Polamalu could not be reached for comment, but he retweeted the message to his more than 500,000 followers. By retweeting the message, Polamalu apparently was concerned that he could be linked to the story.

Te'o has not spoken publicly about the disclosure that his girlfriend was not real. He issued a statement Wednesday and apparently will give an interview within the next few days.

Te'o, considered a likely top-10 draft pick despite a poor BCS title game against Alabama, is training in Bradenton, Fla., in advance of the NFL draft. He will not play in the Senior Bowl, which is heavily scouted by NFL teams, including the Steelers.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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