Samardzija won't rush to judge Te'o

January, 18, 2013
1/18/13
7:16
PM CT
CHICAGO -- Jeff Samardzija was in the Miami area during the BCS national championship, but thankfully he didn’t watch Notre Dame get pounded by Alabama in person.

After disclosing that information, the Chicago Cubs pitcher, and former Notre Dame football star, was asked jokingly if he saw former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o's “girlfriend” there.

“She wasn’t there actually,” he said, with a smile.

Of course, with the unbelievable story of Te’o’s infamous fake deceased girlfriend metastasizing through all media, this won’t be the last time someone brings up this story to Samardzija, who will forever be linked to Notre Dame football after starring on the 2005-06 Fiesta Bowl team.

“So many people want to believe him, so many don’t,” the Chicago Cubs pitcher said. “To sit and listen what’s gong on, it’s really arbitrary. I don’t really have an opinion until enough information comes out to where you can say who was right and who was wrong. That’s what drives the media, the speculation.

“You have to assume he just made a bad decision and you learn from it,” he said. “You just hope it’s not the other side of the coin, that’s all.”

As Te'o has found out, Notre Dame is a lightning rod for media coverage, good and bad. Samardzija said he's still shocked by the coverage this story has received since being uncovered by Deadspin.com earlier this week.

“It’s Notre Dame. You understand when you go to Notre Dame, you take on a different role of being under the spotlight," he said. "If things do great, it’s a great place to be at. You get tons of accolades for it, you get all the front page articles, you get Sports Illustrated, you get ESPN. But then if something doesn’t go well, you pay for that too. You need to understand if you go to that school, you have to be a responsible, mature adult.”

Samardzija said he’s never had a fake online girlfriend situation.

“My line is so straight, it’s unbelievable,” he said.

Jon Greenberg

Columnist, ESPNChicago.com
Jon Greenberg is a columnist for ESPNChicago.com. He has lived and worked in Chicago since 2003, and is a graduate of Ohio University and the University of Chicago.

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