In the same part of the conversation, Te'o said: "Out of this whole thing, that is my biggest regret. And that is the biggest, I think, that's from my point of view, that is a mistake I made.''
He detailed the confusing phone conversation he had on Dec. 6, when the woman who was posing as Kekua contacted him and told him one last hard-to-believe story about how she had to fake her own death to evade drug dealers. Te'o said it left him piecing together what exactly was going on over the next few days, when he was bouncing from interview to interview while taking part in the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York on Dec. 8 and another awards dinner in Los Angeles the next night. He mentioned his girlfriend in interviews at least three times over that period.
Even after he went to his parents, coaches and Notre Dame officials with the story by Dec. 26, and the school provided an investigation that it says corroborated Te'o's version by Jan. 4, the player told ESPN that it was not until Ronaiah Tuiasosopo, a 22-year-old acquaintance who lives in California, contacted him Wednesday and confessed to the prank, that he finally believed Kekua was not real. Schaap said that Te'o showed him direct messages from Twitter in which Tuiasosopo admitted to masterminding the hoax and apologized.
Schaap remarked to Te'o earlier in the interview that he still talked about Lennay as if she existed.
"Well, in my mind I still don't have answers,'' Te'o replied. "I'm still wondering what's going on, what happened.''
Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since Deadspin.com broke the news of the hoax on Wednesday and identified him as being heavily involved. He and his family have declined several requests for comment by The Associated Press.
Whether Tuiasosopo ultimately confirms Te'o's version of the story will go a long way toward determining where this saga is headed.
In the interview with ESPN, Te'o implied that he was not holding a grudge against Tuiasosopo.
"I hope he learns,'' Te'o said. "I hope he understands what he's done. I don't wish an ill thing to somebody. I just hope he learns. I think embarrassment is big enough.''