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Notre Dame QB Rees, LB Calabrese suspended for Sept. 1 opener

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It's the obvious question, but it's one that won't soon go away in South Bend: Who will start at quarterback for the Fighting Irish?

Of the four multiple choice answers, only one has been eliminated -- incumbent Tommy Rees, who learned Tuesday he has been suspended for the season opener.

Brian Kelly begins his third season with the talk around the Fighting Irish centered around who will take the first snap against Navy in Dublin, Ireland, Sept. 1.

Rees, now a junior, ranks as the incumbent, but he was suspended for the season opener and will not even travel to Ireland with the team next month.

Rees might still factor in the competition, but he has more than off-field hurdles to clear. Inconsistency is becoming legendary around the program and he hasn't done himself any favors with the season-opening suspension -- the penance for his offseason arrested after a physical encounter with police fleeing a party. He faced four misdemeanor charges, pled guilty to two and the others were dropped. Rees and linebacker Carlo Calabrese, who got into trouble with Rees, were informed they'd be suspended for the Navy game by Kelly on July 31.

"I apologize to my family, friends, the Notre Dame community, Fighting Irish fans and the South Bend Police Department for my actions this spring," Rees said in a statement released through the school. "I made a poor decision and I accept full responsibility.

"I learned a valuable lesson and witnessed first-hand that actions have consequences. This experience will make me a better person and I will focus on being a positive role model and citizen. To those who supported me during this difficult time, I offer my sincerest thanks. To the people I disappointed, I am dedicated to winning back your trust and confidence."

And now, he has to get back to trying to be the starting quarterback, with junior Andrew Hendrix, sophomore Everett Golson and touted freshman Gunner Kiel ready to take the job away.

Regardless of who begins the season as the starter, and with the world knowing the position could be fluid all season, the Irish face their usual tough schedule as they try to get past the eight-win mark for the first time in Kelly's three season.

Rees is scheduled to appear at a court hearing Aug. 20 to learn whether he'll also owe restitution stemming from the arrest.
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