Manti Te'o to play after tragic week

Updated: September 13, 2012, 10:00 PM ET
By Matt Fortuna | ESPN.com

Manti Te'o will take the field with his Notre Dame teammates Saturday night at Michigan State despite a week filled with tragedy.

Te'o's grandmother, along with a close friend, passed away this week, a spokesman confirmed.

"Our players have been there for him and have been a great support," coach Brian Kelly said Thursday. "We'll support him. He'll be with us. He practiced. He'll be playing Saturday against Michigan State. Unfortunately, he's gone through a very rough 24, 48 hours. But his support and his family at home have been great, and all of the coaches and players have been there for him.

"He wants to be with his teammates, he wants to be with the people that care about him. He's a strong man and he's going through a tough time, but he'll rise to the occasion."

The senior linebacker leads the team in tackles with 18 through two games, adding an interception and a fumble recovery as well.

The Laie, Hawaii, native could return home in the near future, as the Irish have a bye in two weeks. But he will be in the middle of Notre Dame's defense for this weekend's primetime contest in Spartan Stadium.

"We've had some preliminary conversations about it," Kelly said. "We've got a bye week coming up. But we'll see how things go. We know he'll be with us Saturday."

Matt Fortuna | email

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