WATCH: Manti Te’o makes emotional return to Notre Dame as Irish honor linebacker before Cal game

WATCH: Manti Te’o makes emotional return to Notre Dame as Irish honor linebacker before Cal game

Published September 18, 2022
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Since concluding his Notre Dame football career amid controversy at the end of the 2012 season, linebacker Manti Te’o had not been back on the field at his alma mater in a public setting. That all changed on Saturday ahead of the Fighting Irish’s clash with California. 

Te’o spent time with the team this week, and he was honored on the field before its game against the Golden Bears. Te’o got emotional as he and his family received a warm reception from the fans in attendance at Notre Dame.

The runner-up for the 2012 Heisman Trophy, Te’o got caught up in a catfishing scandal that spiraled out of control, and he recently returned to the public spotlight while participating in a Netflix documentary chronicling the scandal. The former five-star prospect had not made a public appearance in South Bend since leading the Fighting Irish to the 2013 BCS National Championship Game.

Welcome home Manti pic.twitter.com/0VypVtGoUh

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It was an emotional moment for former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o, who returned to campus and received a warm reception. 💚 pic.twitter.com/ytcvYxVxhu

Addressing the crowd, Te’o said that it was good to be back at Notre Dame but tried to deflect attention off of himself.

“It’s always good to be home,” Te’o said. “There’s no place like home. But I want to make this real clear. It’s not about me. It’s not about one person. It’s about this whole family.”

Te’o surged to superstardom for Notre Dame in his sophomore season. In 2012, Te’o chose to return for his senior season, and he tallied 113 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, and seven interceptions as the Fighting Irish went undefeated throughout the regular season