Tommy Rees suspended for Notre Dame season opener

Brian KellyLooks like the up-for-grabs Notre Dame quarterback spot has just taken a decisive turn away from the incumbent.

Junior signal-caller Tommy Rees and senior linebacker Carlo Calabrese have been suspended for the team's season opener against Navy scheduled to be played in Dublin on Sept. 1, head coach Brian Kelly announced on Tuesday. 

Neither player will travel to Ireland for the game.

The suspension follows an incident on May 3 of this year in which both players were arrested during a police break-up of an off-campus party.

"Our players understand that it’s a privilege to be associated with the University of Notre Dame and its football program, but with that comes great responsibility," Kelly said. "Carlo and Tommy put themselves in a situation that when given a choice between two distinct paths, they responded with a set of poor decisions. This conduct was inconsistent with my expectations for our football program – especially our veteran, team leaders."

Reese threw for 2,871 yards and 20 touchdowns (with 14 interceptions) last season, but spring practice saw him embroiled in a four-way battle for the starting nod with Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and Gunner Kiel. Rees appeared to acquit himself well in that competition and had a shot at retaining his starting position until his arrest in May changed the circumstances in Kelly's mind. 

The Irish coach made it clear that the suspension will have the effect of burying Reese on the depth chart, noting that he and Calabrese "can attempt to climb the depth chart following the conclusion of their respective suspensions."

The immediate beneficiary of Rees' suspension could be Golson, a fan favorite who had a strong spring but has never taken a snap in a game. While Hendrix has the advantage of playing time under his belt, Golson is a more mobile playmaker who gives Kelly's offense an added dimension. If the Navy game kicked off today, Golson would probably take the first snap.

Regardless of who gets the start, though, it's going to be tough for Rees to get his job back. By the looks of it, the Notre Dame quarterback position is headed in a new direction.

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