Suspended Rees lending help wherever he can

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Suspended Rees lending help wherever he can

The circumstances are different, but the rhetoric is the same.

Tommy Rees won't start Notre Dame's season opener against Navy in Dublin, Ireland on the first day of September. He's suspended for the game, the result of a "set of poor decisions," as coach Brian Kelly said, made at an off-campus party last May. At Wednesday's practice, Rees didn't take a single snap in 7-on-7 or 11-on-11 drills.

Rewind to last season, when Dayne Crist was benched for all but a handful of plays after being yanked following a rough first half in Notre Dame's season-opening loss to USF. Despite his demotion and infrequent playing time, Crist was held in high esteem for his attitude and work ethic.

"Even if he's not out there, he's still a leader on the team," former running back Jonas Gray said last October. "A lot of guys look up to him."

"Great guy, great leader," added Michael Floyd in December. "For all the stuff that went on in his career here, he still held his head up high and stayed a good friend to me and a good teammate to everyone."

Rees' career path may not follow that of Crist, who transferred to Kansas following the conclusion of Notre Dame's regular season last year. But, for now, the explanations of Rees' fellow quarterbacks as to how helpful he's been sound somewhat familiar.

"He's been such a positive influence on all three of the younger guys," Andrew Hendrix said. "Having Tommy back there at all times is really an invaluable resource that we have."

Everett Golson, who's been pegged by some as the favorite to win the starting gig, rooms with Rees and said the junior has been very accessible when it comes to helping him out. But, at the same time, Golson acknowledged how odd it is for Rees to watch while nearly the entire team moves forward without him, at least for the first game.

"It is awkward," Golson said. "I praise Tommy for that, because I don't know if I could really do that. Tommy's a great guy."

And Gunner Kiel, a true freshman, is trying to soak up as much of Rees' experience with the Notre Dame offense as he possibly can.

"He knows so much about the game," Kiel said. "I talked to Tommy outside of football, and he says he wants to be a college coach. He definitely has the ability and mind for it. It's great having him in there to teach us all the stuff he knows."

It's likely too early to peg Rees as nothing more than a coach this season. Maybe that's in his future -- Hendrix agreed with the notion that Rees would make a fantastic college coach.

But Kelly has said Rees can "attempt to climb the depth chart" after the Navy game, and the third-year coach has also said he won't hesitate to make a switch at quarterback if he isn't pleased with the level of play from that position in the season opener.

So the door isn't completely shut on Rees starting another game for Notre Dame in the future. He's apologized for his arrest, which resulted in a pair of guilty pleas on misdemeanor charges. While he's not directly a part of Notre Dame's quarterback battle, Rees' teammates see a player who's still doing everything he can to help.

"That's the past," Hendrix said. "We're just moving forward."

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Honda Road Ahead: Bulls continue playoff push against Cavaliers, Hawks

Mark Schanowski, Kendall Gill and Will Perdue break down the Bulls' upcoming schedule in the latest edition of the Bulls Road Ahead, presented by Chicagoland and NW Indiana Honda dealers.

TNT Bulls are back this week as the team heads into a crucial stretch. 

Currently, the Bulls sit half a game back of the Miami Heat for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference playoff race, and with just eight games remaining on the schedule, each contest is essentially a must-win. 

So, yes, Thursday would be a great time for Jimmy Butler and company to summon their TNT alter ego. The Bulls have sealed 18 straight victories when playing on TNT Thursday, an improbable feat considering those games are usually reserved for two of the NBA's best. 

To continue that run, they'll have to down Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are also fighting for playoff positioning -- albeit at the top of the conference. Good thing the Bulls have a tendency to get up for big games. 

"The Bulls play up and down to their competition," Bulls Pregame and Postgame analyst Kendall Gill said. "They've been doing that the whole season." 

After Cleveland, the Bulls get set to battle another playoff squad, the Atlanta Hawks. 

Watch the video above to see Schanowski, Gill and Perdue break down the matchups. 

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

White Sox rookie Charlie Tilson's foot could keep him out until late May

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Charlie Tilson will spend another three weeks in a walking boot and is likely out until at least the end of May.

The White Sox outfielder has been wearing the boot ever since he re-aggravated a stress reaction in his right foot earlier this month. Tilson is also rehabbing a torn hamstring that required surgery last August and ended his 2016 season early.

The White Sox later downed the San Francisco Giants 4-3 at Camelback Ranch. Catcher Roberto Pena had a two-out, two-run single in the ninth.

“It’s likely going to be a little bit of a process from there,” Tilson said. “One of those things you have to listen to your body. Like I said, it may take more time than I would like. But the ultimate goal is to be sustainable and get myself back to where I need to be.”

The White Sox top options for center field remain veteran Peter Bourjos and prospect Jacob May. They also could use Leury Garcia in center, manager Rick Renteria said.

Center field is one of several open roster battles with only three full days to go in camp. The team is off on Thursday before playing a pair of exhibition games at Milwaukee on Friday and Saturday.

“We’ll figure it out, and it could be in the next couple of days,” Renteria said. “We just have to allow it to play out and then make a determination at that point.”

The White Sox also have two spots up for grabs in the back of the bullpen. Michael Ynoa, who is out of options, non-roster invitees Anthony Swarzak, Cory Luebke and Matt Purke, and rookie Zack Burdi are vying for jobs. Rookie Juan Minaya is likely to start the season on the disabled list.

Rule 5 draftee Dylan Covey, who pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings on Saturday, could figure into the team’s plans even more if Carlos Rodon starts the season on the disabled list. Covey is expected to start for the White Sox on Wednesday against the San Diego Padres.

Sunday’s starter James Shields said he’s ready for the regular season after throwing five innings. Shields allowed three earned runs and eight hits, walked three and struck out two.

He finished the Cactus League with a 3.45 ERA in 15 2/3 innings.

“Overall I felt good and I’m ready to move on,” Shields said. “These last couple outings I’ve been trying to work on my two-seam fastball. Today it was a little erratic, but overall felt pretty good.”

Nate Jones struck out two in a scoreless inning pitched. David Robertson, Blake Smith and Dan Jennings also pitched a scoreless inning.

Jose Abreu doubled and walked in four trips. Melky Cabrera singled twice in three trips.