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Mental health checks are part of daily routine at Notre Dame football

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Notre Dame defensive lineman Howard Cross III (56) tries to tackle California running back DeCarlos Brooks (25) during the Notre Dame vs.  California NCAA football game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022 at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend.

SOUTH BEND — Howard Cross III is enjoying a breakout season on Notre Dame’s defensive line, but there are times when even the fourth year junior pauses over the daily mental health check-ins all Irish football players must complete.

“It simply (asks): ‘Are you stressed? One to five,’” Cross said. “If you’re good, you’re not stressed at all. If you, I don’t know, have a lot of school going and football is stressing you out, you’re very stressed.”

A talented young player who says he “constantly doubts himself, constantly doesn’t think he can,” the namesake son of a former Super Bowl-champion tight end typically spends three or four hours per night on his academics. That comes after a full day of classes, practice and film study.

“After practice I go home and spend an hour on (football) or more if I know I need help,” Cross said. “Then the rest is some projects or studying and God knows what else.”

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