Was Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o really the victim of a cruel hoax or was the Heisman Trophy runner-up in on it all along? That's just one of the questions being asked today after it was revealed that Te'o had been receiving sympathy over the loss of what appears to have been a fictional girlfriend. He's issued a statement saying he developed an emotional relationship with a woman he met online. He says the two maintained what he thought was an authentic relationship for months via online and phone contact. Te'o was then allegedly duped into thinking the 22-year-old woman was in a serious car accident and later died from leukemia. Deadspin.com reports there is no record that she ever existed. Te'o garnered national media attention for playing through the loss of his grandmother and girlfriend in a 24-hour period in September.