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December 28, 2013

Atkinson suspended for Pinstripe

NEW YORK - George Atkinson III's season ended about two hours short of its natural completion.

The running back announced his own suspension on Saturday morning via Twitter, claiming he'd been suspended for texting during a team meal. That tweet was quickly deleted, but Notre Dame confirmed the suspension for a violation of team rules.

Reserve cornerback Jalen Brown has also been suspended for the Pinstripe Bowl.

Neither player will attend the game at Yankee Stadium against Rutgers.

While Brown was buried on the depth chart, Atkinson was in line for carries on Saturday having started four games this season, tied for the team lead at the position. While Atkinson's role has been diminished by the emergence of Tarean Folston during the season's final month, the junior still leads the team at 6.0 yards per carry.

One day before kickoff, head coach Brian Kelly noted Atkinson as a key part of his backfield moving forward alongside Folston. At a minimum, he gave Notre Dame its top kickoff return specialist. His 2,136 career yardage of kickoff returns is the program's career record.

Cam McDaniel, in addition to getting more carries, could move into the starting kickoff return role on Saturday.

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