July 17, 2009
Notre Dame, Ind – One by one they filed into the football locker room at Notre Dame Stadium, some from just a few minutes down the road, others from either side of the country and from as far away as Florida and California. The Notre Dame Football Legends arrived at the University of Notre Dame where they enjoyed successful college football careers to once again wear that famous gold helmet in preparation for the Notre Dame Japan Bowl.
On Sunday, the 58-man roster will depart for Tokyo to spend a week helping to celebrate 75 years of ‘American Football’ being played in Japan. The highlight of the visit will be a game played against the Japanese senior national team at the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome in the nation’s capital city on July 25.
Adding to the roster… the squad was bolstered at defensive back and punter when Notre Dame Monogram Club President JOE RESTIC signed on as the 58th member of the Notre Dame Football Legends roster. Restic was a starting safety while helping Notre Dame win the 1977 national championship during his junior season. The son of legendary Harvard football coach Joe Restic, Sr. (’70-’93) he came to Notre Dame in the fall of 1975 from Milford, Mass., and was a four-year letter winner as a punter and free safety. His 209 career punts rank second in Notre Dame history while he still holds the Irish record for punting average in a single game (51.6 yards), after booting five kicks for 258 yards vs. Air Force in ’75. At 51-years-old, Restic is the second oldest player on the team (Kris Haines, also 51). He will wear #18 at practice and #9 on game day.
Media frenzy… In addition to fielding questions from local TV, print and web media, the Notre Dame Football Legends were also featured on the Armed Forces Network in Japan when quarterback TONY RICE was interviewed live on air. In addition to the thoughts he shared with the US servicemen and women stationed overseas, the ’88 national championship-winning quarterback had some general observations of his first day back on a Notre Dame practice field.
“I’ve been trying to get my rhythm and timing right,” he said of his first practice. “There is a lot of talent and the guys, as we’ve seen today, have really kept themselves in shape. We’re going to enjoy ourselves and we aim to win. If you go back and look at some of the plays we ran when I was at Notre Dame then you’re going to see something familiar from us here, with a few wrinkles here and there.”
Hoping for better weather… the forecast looks promising for Friday and Saturday’s two-a-days, in contrast to the final hour of Thursday’s practice, which was held during a steady downpour.
Notre Dame Football Legends Team Schedule For Friday, July 17 10:00 am Practice @ LaBar Fields 3:15 pm Team Photo @ ND Stadium 4:00 pm Practice @ LaBar Fields
CBS College Sports Network, the original 24-hour sports network, will broadcast the Notre Dame Japan Bowl to a nationwide audience in the United States on Monday, August 10 (9:00 PM, ET; taped 7/25/09) as part of the Network’s “Countdown to Kickoff Week” programming.
For more information on the Notre Dame Japan Bowl 2009 and the Notre Dame Football Legends, visit www.NDJapanBowl.com. The full roster is also available at that website.