Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Updated: February 6, 3:29 PM ET
Manti Te'o deletes Twitter account
By Darren Rovell
Manti Te'o's Twitter account no longer exists.
The account using the handle, @MTeo_5, disappeared from the social media platform during the Super Bowl broadcast Sunday.
A source told ESPN.com the former Notre Dame linebacker will be off Twitter for an indefinite period of time to prepare for the NFL draft. Twitter accounts that are deleted can be reactivated by that person.
Before it was deleted, Te'o's Twitter bio included a quote from French author Alexandre Dumas in his book, The Count of Monte Cristo: "Life is a storm ...You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes."
The quote certainly mirrored Te'o's life over the past month.
Just days after the Irish lost the Discover BCS National Championship, Deadspin.com revealed that the story of his girlfriend Lennay Kekua dying of leukemia during the season was not true. Kekua turned out to be the fictional concoction of a man named Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, who later said he created the character and interacted with Te'o as the woman on texts and phone calls.
While Te'o said he had nothing to do with the hoax, he was criticized for misleading the media about the extent of their personal interaction. He also was chastised for not being forthcoming once he was called by a person with the voice of Kekua in December, months after he said he thought she had died.
Despite the strange story, many draft analysts do not see Te'o dropping far down in the draft. Te'o moved down from No. 6 to No. 12 in the last version of ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper's big board because of what Kiper attributes to "positional value" in the draft order.
The same cannot be said for Te'o's marketability, at least in the short term. Several marketers who have been approached by Te'o's team at Creative Artists Agency told ESPN.com that the deals being discussed are not at the same prices that were being floated about before the hoax was uncovered.
A new Nielsen/E-Poll survey reveals that Te'o appealed to 88 percent of the people that knew of him at the time of the title game, but he was only considered appealing by 15 percent of the population after the story of the hoax was revealed.
Te'o did not participate in the Senior Bowl, which he was invited to, but he will face the discerning questions of NFL team personnel in Indianapolis at the league's draft combine, which begins two weeks from Wednesday.