From Comcast SportsNetSOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o didn't show any signs of being affected by the girlfriend hoax leading up to the BCS title game, but his play indicates it may have taken a toll, coach Brian Kelly said Tuesday."Hindsight is 20-20. I didn't think going into the game he was affected by it. But he didn't play his best. Alabama had something to do with that, clearly. But I really don't know," Kelly said."It's a lot to weigh on the shoulders of somebody. I think we can make the leap that maybe it did. But I think Manti would know for sure."Te'o said in an interview with ESPN after the news of the hoax broke that it did not affect his performance in the title game blowout.Kelly spoke to reporters Tuesday by conference call for the first time since the Irish were beaten 42-14 by Alabama in the BCS title game on Jan. 7. He said his interview the Philadelphia Eagles was mainly to get more information about coaching in the NFL, and his heart remains in college football. He's also working on a contract extension with Notre Dame.Kelly said so far everything that has come out about the girlfriend hoax matches up with what Te'o told him when he called him on Dec. 26. Kelly contacted athletic director Jack Swarbrick immediately after Te'o told him what happened."Obviously, we all heard the story. It just sounded so crazy that the first thing I wanted to make sure we did was get the right people on top of this immediately," he said. "That was my first thought, to find out What the heck is going on here.'"Te'o had described the girlfriend, who supposedly died of leukemia last fall, the love of his life. But Te'o got a call from the person posing as the girlfriend on Dec. 6, to say she hadn't died. He continued to talk about her when questioned at the Heisman Trophy ceremony on Dec. 8. He told Kelly about the situation 18 days later.Te'o told ESPN on Jan. 18 that Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California, contacted him Jan. 16 and confessed to the prank.Kelly said he wasn't sure what to think initially. Despite all that's happened, Kelly said he will still remember Te'o as one of the best teammates and leaders he's been around in 22 years of coaching."He showed the way how to be a great teammate. His work ethic, his commitment, all of those things," he said. "He was special to coach and he did all the things that I think great players have to do on a day-to-day basis."Kelly described his interview with Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie was more "intrigue than it was interest," saying the Eagles contacted Swarbrick within a day of Andy Reid being fired on Dec. 31."My head said: Let's be more informed as it relates to the NFL. But my heart is in college football and with Notre Dame," Kelly said.He said he wanted to learn about the day-to-day operation of NFL teams to see if it was something that might interest him."I wanted to answer those because we're going to win again next year and there's probably going to be teams interested in me coaching in the NFL and I want to be able to tell them definitively that I want to coach college," he said.Kelly, who agreed he wouldn't talk to the Eagles until after the title game, said it wasn't a problem keeping the interview from being a distraction."Because I wasn't even certain I was going to interview," he said. "It really wasn't even on my radar."Kelly said he's been telling recruits that he was flattered by the attention from the NFL, but that he's committed to Notre Dame.Kelly also said he feels good about negotiations under way with Swarbrick about a contract extension, saying negotiations began on Dec. 6."We both want the same thing, the long-term consistency of the program," Kelly said.Kelly originally signed a five-year contract three years ago at a reported 2.5 million a year and was given a two-year extension a year ago.Kelly said despite losing by 28 to Alabama, he's still excited about the Notre Dame football program. He said Irish players understand how much more they need to improve."Our workouts now in the offseason will be focused on getting back to that game," he said. "As I told our team, we have some work to do. No question. But we know where we want to go."We know that we're capable of getting back to the national championship game, and we started that journey two weeks ago."
The NBA’s 38 rookies had their annual photo shoot and were polled by NBA.com with a couple of questions about their class. When asked which rookie was the most athletic among them, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown, the No. 3 pick overall last June, won in a landslide.
Here are the results of that question:
1. Jaylen Brown, Boston -- 38.7%
2. Brice Johnson, L.A. Clippers -- 16.1%
3. Marquese Chriss, Phoenix -- 9.7%
T-4. Malik Beasley, Denver -- 6.5%
Kay Felder, Cleveland -- 6.5%
Gary Payton II, Houston -- 6.5%
Providence guard Kris Dunn, No. 5 pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves was the freshman class’ pick to win rookie of the year honors, with 29 percent of the vote, followed by No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram of the Lakers and No. 1 pick Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers.
BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 8-6 win over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday afternoon at Fenway Park:
*The Red Sox got some much-needed contributions from the bottom of the order.
Aaron Hill was 0-for-20 when he came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but slapped a tie-breaking single to right to put the Red Sox ahead to stay.
Batting ninth was Jackie Bradley Jr. who was 3-for-17 when he singled in the fifth, homered in the sixth and doubled home a run in the ninth, right after Hill's heroics.
The Sox have been carried offensively by the top four or five in their lineup, but that's a tough way to win.
At some point, others in the batting order have to contribute. The timing couldn't have been better than for that to start on Wednesday afternoon.
* Why was Junichi Tazawa throwing fastballs ahead 0-and-2?
Tazawa entered with the bases loaded and Logan Forsythe due. After two quick strikes, Tazawa kept throwing fastballs to Forsythe, who took the second one and lined it back up the middle for a two-run single.
Tazawa's best pitch is his split-finger, and it seemed like that would have been the more prudent choice there -- to get Forsythe to chase a pitch out of the zone.
It's doubtful that there were concerns about a split bouncing in the dirt and getting away from catcher Sandy Leon.
The Rays lost out on a run in the third inning and it changed the game.
With two outs, the Rays had Tim Beckham at second and Logan Forsythe at first when Kevin Kiermaier stroked a line drive to the gap in right-center.
Beckham jogged toward the plate, but at the same time, Kiermaier attempted to stretch a single into a double. His throw arrived in time for a tag to be placed on him as he slid into second.
Worse, from the Rays' standpoint, Beckham hadn't crossed the plate before the tag was applied at second, so what should have been an automatic run was not a run at all for Tampa Bay.
Tom Brady will have some time on his hands the next couple of weeks. So, why not travel back to the ol’ alma mater to serve as honorary captain.
That’s what the Patriots quarterback will be doing Sept. 17 when Michigan hosts Colorado at the Big House in Ann Arbor.
Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh told the NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, another Michigan alum, that Brady will be back in Michigan for the game.
There has been speculation that Brady will find time to work out with the Wolverines to stay sharp while he’s away from the Patriots serving his four-game Deflategate suspension. His visit with the Wolverines will no doubt fuel more of that talk.