It hasn’t been a secret that Tommy Rees has been taking summer classes and working out with his teammates as the Irish undergo offseason workouts in preparation for the 2012 season. But head coach Brian Kelly hadn’t yet commented on the future of his embattled quarterback, who ran afoul with the law on the last day of spring classes, resulting in embarrassing arrests for two Irish players, includes four outstanding misdemeanor charges for Rees and one charge for linebacker Carlo Calabrese.
The South Bend Tribune’s Eric Hansen had a chance to catch up with Kelly at the Irish Legends charity golf classic, and the head coach opened up about Rees Calabrese’s status with the team while the legal process is still being worked out.
“They are cleared to stay in school. They’ve been cleared from me to participate in all workouts,” Kelly told Hansen. “When all of these things come together, we’re not going to wait a long time. We’re going to try to get this thing to the point where we know exactly where they are. We want to move and get all of this done.”
Come together seems to be the operative term, and means that their discipline will likely hinge on the result of the legal process. For Rees, that means finding a resolution to the misdemeanor charge stemming from the quarterback allegedly kneeing the arresting officer in the abdomen. Calabrese, who is charged with one count of misdemeanor intimidation, will also likely need to reach an agreement that lessens the charge.
That Kelly is letting the legal process play out while showing faith in his players isn’t surprising. He did the same thing with wide receiver Michael Floyd after Floyd’s DUI arrest. While Kelly stripped Floyd of his captaincy and suspended him indefinitely through the spring, Floyd earned his way back onto the roster after being allowed to workout with the team and take classes in the summer. Kelly also dolled out discipline to tight end Mike Ragone after a marijuana possession charge, keeping the matter in-house when an incident like that had usually been played out publicly in the past.
“It’s never a one-size-fits-all situation,” Kelly told Hansen. “This is over 20 years of me being a head coach and having to look at each individual and what the sanctions are. We’ve gotten all of the reports. I’ve gotten a chance to meet with both of them, and we’ll get this thing rolling.”
Rees’ status with the Irish added another wrinkle to a four-headed quarterback battle that the rising junior controlled for most of the spring, only to struggle during the Irish spring game. Rees has started 16 of the last 17 games for Notre Dame at quarterback, yet played his way back to the competition late in the year as the Irish offense struggled with turnovers as consistency.