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August 3, 2011
Brian Kelly just made his biggest off-season roster move.
On Wednesday morning Notre Dame announced the full return of star receiver Michael Floyd, making the Irish offense whole, breathing life into a beleaguered passing game and closing the book on a five-month ordeal that started with an arrest on a drunken driving charge in March.
Floyd and Kelly will hold a press conference at 3 p.m. to discuss the return.
"The last four months have been the most humbling stretch of time in my life," Floyd said in a prepared statement. "I embarrassed myself, my family, the University, my football team and many more people. I know it will take time to earn the trust and confidence from everyone I let down last spring but I am prepared to do so and will strive to become not just a leader on the team again, but one also in the community. I am grateful for the opportunity to earn my degree this year from the University of Notre Dame and I look forward to reuniting with my football family this fall."
Kelly insisted over the summer that Floyd's return would be all or nothing, meaning that he'd either play every game for Notre Dame this season or wouldn't suit up at all. While Floyd did put in work with the team this summer, he was suspended for spring practice and couldn't lift with the team.
Kelly believes he's seen enough to let the receiver back onto the squad in full, although he said Floyd will not be a season captain this fall, having that distinction stripped during the suspension.
"From the very beginning of this process, Michael knew what was expected for him to be a member of our football program," Kelly said in a statement. "Based on my own observations, I am very pleased with the progress Michael has made since March. That is why I am comfortable reinstating him to our football team. Michael knows that he must continue on this positive track. I look forward to witnessing the development he has made based on lessons learned from this situation and how that will lead to better choices in the future."
The football impact of Floyd's return is obvious. He posted 79 catches for 1,025 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, carrying the offense in wins at USC and against Miami in the Sun Bowl. The rest of Notre Dame's returning wide receivers posted a combined 92 catches for 1,053 yards and six scores last season.
"It was just a simple mistake that I take full responsibility for my actions and from that day on I started moving forward in a positive direction," Floyd told the school's website. "It feels great just knowing that things are going in a positive way right now and I'm having fun with my teammates throwing the ball around and talking with coaches. It's all going real well."