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Steve Filer likely lost for the season with ACL tear

Army v Notre Dame

NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 20: Sean Westphal #22 of the Army Black Knights dives on the loose ball under pressure from Steve Filer #46 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Yankee Stadium on November 20, 2010 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

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It appears that Steve Filer‘s career at Notre Dame is over. One of the Irish’s best athletes appeared to suffer a career-ending knee injury at practice on Wednesday during a one-on-one pass rushing drill, robbing Filer of the final four games of his Irish career.

“We’re probably going to lose him for the year. It looks like an ACL,” Brian Kelly said. “It’s tough losing a senior, especially when it’s a non-contact situation and when you lose a guy that’s not going to play for Notre Dame anymore.”

Filer had started to take more and more snaps in pass rushing situations, specializing with a hand down as the Irish have been short defensive ends with Kapron Lewis-Moore and Ethan Johnson out with injuries. While he’s never become the impact player many expected when he came to Notre Dame among the most heavily recruited prospects in the country, he’s an important guy in the locker room and a veteran team leader.

“That was tough,” Kelly said. “Today, you can see the guys rallying around him. Darius Fleming is going to wear his jersey for the Maryland game, as a tribute to him and not being able to play.”

Fleming and Filer came into Notre Dame together, but veterans of the Chicago Catholic league. That Fleming will turn in his 45 for 46 is a great tribute to a good friend and fellow linebacker.

Who takes over for Filer in his specialist role remains to be seen. If you had to guess, expect to see more of Prince Shembo with his hand on the ground, with the depth behind at the Dog linebacker getting better with Danny Spond and Troy Niklas improving every week.