Published: Jan 18, 2013 12:02 AM EST

UNDATED (AP) - Notre Dame All-American linebacker Manti Te'o (MAN'-ty TAY'-ow) mentioned in at least two interviews his online girlfriend of three years even after the school says he discovered she never existed.

An Associated Press review of news coverage found that the Heisman Trophy runner-up talked about his doomed love in a Web interview on Dec. 8 and again in a newspaper interview published Dec. 10. He and the university said Wednesday that he learned on Dec. 6 that it was all a hoax, that not only wasn't she dead, she wasn't real.

However, former Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui'a (MAO'-ee-uh) says he knows the woman, telling ESPN that he met Lennay Kekua in 2011 while he and some teammates were on a charity mission to American Samoa.

Maui'a told the network that this was before the woman met Te'o and that he and Kekua became "good friends."

Meanwhile, NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt believes the uncertainty surrounding Te'o could affect when he might be selected in April's draft. The former Dallas Cowboys general manager adds that Te'o's stock had already plummeted after a poor performance in the BCS championship game.