ANN ARBOR — Prior to Thursday’s scrimmage, the Michigan football team listened to a motivational speech of sorts, delivered by one of the program's highest-profile alumni.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady addressed the Wolverines nine days before their season opener against Central Michigan. The Patriots played the Lions in an NFL preseason game Thursday night at Ford Field in Detroit, and Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Thursday that Brady’s visit and presentation was a surprise to his players.
“As you can imagine, there were some wide eyes,” the third-year Wolverines coach said.
The Michigan athletic department posted the edited presentation on its Web site, mgoblue.com, and Brady gave an impassioned speech about what he learned at Michigan about his love for the game.
“Not every kid is playing at Michigan,” Brady said. “This place is special to me, it’s special to the guys that I played with, it’s special to the guys that played before me because we love Michigan.”
Then, Brady reflected on what he considered the biggest goal in his career.
"I didn’t come in with the opportunity to play right away," said Brady, who has won three Super Bowls with the Patriots. "I had to earn it. And you know what the greatest honor I’ve ever received as a player is? In my fourth year and my fifth year, I was named team captain. That, to this day, that is the single greatest achievement I’ve ever had as a football player. Because the men in this room chose me."
Brady is one of a handful of notable personalities to visit the Michigan football program and facilities in the last year. A year ago, Major League Baseball player Alex Rodriguez toured the Wolverines’ athletic facilities and actor Mark Wahlberg worked out in July with Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner. NASCAR Sprint Cup champion and Rochester Hills, Mich., native Brad Keselowski attended Michigan’s practice on Saturday.
Of those, only Brady was a Michigan alum.
“It proved what a class act he is,” Hoke said of Brady. “Secondly, how much he loves this university and this program, and it was a great moment, in a lot of ways.”
MORRIS NO. 2 QB: Hoke said freshman Shane Morris will be the No. 2 quarterback behind Devin Gardner.
Morris did not play in Saturday's intrasquad scrimmage at Michigan Stadium because of a finger injury, yet Hoke said the decision was made by the coaching staff before the start of the week to designate Morris as Gardner's backup.
Morris committed to the Wolverines during his sophomore year at De La Salle Collegiate High School in Warren, Mich. The 6-foot-3, 190 pound left-hander was rated by several recruiting services as a five-star quarterback during the recruiting process. Brian Cleary is the No. 3 quarterback..