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Notre Dame's Manti Te'o mourns loss of 2 loved ones in 2 days

By Ferd Lewis

LAST UPDATED: 10:01 a.m. HST, Sep 14, 2012

Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o will play one of the Irish's biggest games this season with a heavy heart Saturday.

School officials say that within the span of 48 hours this week, the All-American linebacker from Laie has mourned the deaths of his maternal grandmother and his girlfriend.

"He lost some people very close to him and it's obviously taken a toll on him," head coach Brian Kelly told the media Thursday night.

The 20th-ranked Fighting Irish play No. 10 Michigan State Saturday in East Lansing, Mich. on national television.

Te'o's girlfriend, Lennay Kekua, died Wednesday from leukemia. A day earlier his grandmother died, family friends said.

Kelly said, "Our players have been there for him and have been a great support. 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."

Kelly said, "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."

Kelly said he and Te'o, a 2009 Punahou School graduate, have discussed the possibility of the linebacker returning to Hawaii before or after the Sept. 22nd Michigan game. Notre Dame has an open week following the Michigan game.

"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."

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kk808 wrote:
Manti, my condolences to you and your family.
on September 14,2012 | 10:19AM
walaau808 wrote:
Best wishes Manti!
on September 14,2012 | 10:28AM
HAJAA1 wrote:
Manti, God bless you and your family. Hang in there, we are all with you.
on September 14,2012 | 10:52AM
worldpeace wrote:
Manti, we are chanting for your strength and courage, as well as for your family, during this difficult time.
on September 14,2012 | 12:04PM
Anonymous wrote:
Sad...very sad...Condolences to the Te'o and Kekua Ohana
on September 14,2012 | 12:46PM
Konala wrote:
Peace to you and your family Manti!
on September 14,2012 | 01:00PM
kkagi wrote:
So very sad. God be with you, your family, and the Kekua family during this very difficult time...
on September 14,2012 | 01:11PM
kailuanokaoi wrote:
Manti - they are together now flying with angels and will be watching over you. Much love and aloha to you, your family and the Kekua ohana during this very difficult time. We'll be praying for God's comfort and strength to be upon you. Aloha.
on September 14,2012 | 01:31PM
lowtone123 wrote:
Heartfelt condolences to Manti and the Kekua and Te'o families.
on September 14,2012 | 02:04PM
CartwrightPark wrote:
God bless bruddah. Hang in there! Aloha.
on September 14,2012 | 02:56PM
lamedeer2011 wrote:
Coach Kelly, What's there to discuss? Let Manti return home for part of the week and then return since you have a bye week. Family before football. These two individuals he is mourning should be top priority and not below football. Manti has many more games and opportunity on the playing field so let him heal with his family. No team mate or coach can replace or help heal like your own family.
on September 14,2012 | 03:00PM
pakeheat wrote:
Manti decision was to be with the team, so who are you to tell him what to do?
on September 14,2012 | 11:34PM
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