Up and coming Notre Dame football player delays mission

Manti Te'o is still a man on a mission.

It's just that the Notre Dame freshman linebacker's mission won't look like the typical two-year variety often taken by male members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Not yet anyway.

Instead, the Irish defensive prodigy will return to school in mid-January and begin preparing for his sophomore season with the Irish in 2010. He shared the news with his family in Laie, Hawaii, on Christmas Eve.

“It's probably the biggest decision I've ever had to make in my life because of the impact of the decision,” Te'o said through the Notre Dame sports information department Saturday night.

It may be a decision he'll have to make all over again. Te'o did not rule out serving the church through a mission sometime in the future, though that could happen beyond his college days. After Te'o consulted with family members and church leaders, he came to the conclusion that the timing, at least, was all wrong.

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