Notre Dame Football: Why It's OK Brian Kelly Cleared Tommy Rees for Time Being

Michael FelderNational CFB Lead WriterJune 26, 2012

ANN ARBOR, MI - SEPTEMBER 10:  Tommy Rees #11 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish takes the field prior to playing the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 10, 2010 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Early in May, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish quarterback battle became a bit more clear when Tommy Rees was arrested and suspended from the team, essentially making it a two-man race between Andrew Hendrix and Everett Golson.

Or so we thought, as freshman Gunner Kiel just was not ready to compete, and Rees was out of the picture.

While the Kiel situation has not changed, the Rees issue has. As the South Bend Tribune reports, Rees has been cleared by coach Brian Kelly to resume all workouts in South Bend. With regard to Rees and Carlo Calabrese, who was also arrested in May and charged with intimidation, Kelly said:

They are cleared to stay in school. They've been cleared from me to participate in all workouts. ...

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.

Put another way, Kelly has left himself time to suspend Rees and Calabrese, all while allowing the quarterback to prove his worth on the field. Kelly makes some great comments that most fans should take to heart where the team discipline is concerned:

It's never a one-size-fits-all situation. 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.

Kelly being up front about tailoring his punishment to his players is something more folks need to hear. It is his team, and they are his players. Each case is different, and when learning a lesson is the ultimate goal, different approaches should be taken.

Some players need harsh punishment to get the point. For other people, the lesson comes with the embarrassment of being in trouble. Let the coach, the guy who deals with the players on a daily basis, make this call.

We'll see what happens to them down the line. Rees has a hearing on July 17 to address his four misdemeanor counts, and Calabrese will return to court on Aug. 20 to work on his pending intimidation misdemeanor.

For now, the Fighting Irish quarterback battle is again on in South Bend between Andrew Hendrix, Everett Golson and, thanks to his return, Tommy Rees.