Harbaugh, Grant Newsome & Salim Makki will meet Pope Francis

Submitted by Wolverine Devotee on April 22nd, 2017 at 12:25 PM

The two players were chosen by Harbaugh to shake the Pope's hand.

Harbaugh had the team write essays on why they should get to shake the Pope's hand.

The essays are included, and they're really impressive. Especially from Salim Makki, the Wayne State transfer from Dearborn. 


There are practices planned at the home of soccer club AS Roma, but there is plenty of sightseeing, too, along with a meeting with refugees, including some who have fled Syria. And then there is the trip to the Vatican. While the entire team can look forward to a visit to St. Peter's Square, Harbaugh, his wife, Sarah, and two players are going to get a closer look at the pope.

In his essay, Makki, a defensive tackle who described himself as a devout Muslim, wrote that he grew up learning the importance of religions coexisting.

"His Holiness Pope Francis is sincerely one of my heroes," Makki wrote. "In a time where Muslims have been scrutinized and wrongly identified with violence, Pope Francis has defended Islam and stated that not all Muslims are violent."

In addition to that, the Pope will be presented with a customized Michigan helmet.

Notice the Cross on the side, the US & Italy flags on the back, the "266" decal (266th Pope) and the Francisco signature panel below the ear hole.



April 22nd, 2017 at 12:46 PM ^

Damn... Making players write a letter on why they wanted to meet the Pope and then selecting two players on the content of that letter?

I love Coach Harbaugh! So Harbaugh!

it would have been so easy to pick a guy like Rashan for example or McCray and no one would have blinked... but to pick Newsome, a guy that won't play this year and whose career maybe over and some transfer who was deep down on the depth chart?!

Love how the matra of meritocracy carries through in everything

Good for them! looking forward to seeing the pictures and the story on that meeting!

mgoblue tv better be there! and Turnley too!


April 22nd, 2017 at 1:46 PM ^

You know, they rather do think this. It's very hard to reconcile their view of that university and that city with what both actually are. Indeed, if once in a while someone took their newborn to the Linebacker Lounge to be baptized with a pitcher of Molson by Rudy Ruettiger, I really wouldn't be shocked at all. 


April 22nd, 2017 at 12:42 PM ^

I cannot overstate how much of an opportunity this trip will be for some of our athletes.  As someone who has been fortunate to have travelled to Europe many times for business and pleasure, what this trip will do to expand the horizons of our football players is off the charts. 

There are many reasons to like Harbaugh because of his acumen as a coach, but putting this trip together and his plans for future trips makes Coach Harbaugh stand apart from everyone else out there.  And a loud thank you to the anonymous donor who is making this trip possible. It will enrich the lives of many of our student athletes and will be something they will remember for the rest of their lives.


Moe Greene

April 22nd, 2017 at 12:45 PM ^

Great work Coach! This tells us a lot about how this staff thinks - getting to Italy is already outside of the box, and now this....

Just fantastic - I hope we'll get a scouting report on the Pontiff's pad level....

UM Indy

April 22nd, 2017 at 12:52 PM ^

Is the target of pot shots, criticism and rants from some members of the media and other coaches because of this trip, the satellite camps and other things. But name one other coach in major college football who actually endeavors to be a part of and partner with the educational experience that is college. Our coach cares about more than football and he proves it with a trip like this. He's an educator who happens to be a football coach. A professor of football if you will. Couldn't be more proud to have him.


April 22nd, 2017 at 1:00 PM ^

To think that other programs and the NCAA have tried to limit such experiences... Part of a true college decision involves a review of the entire experience and where it can take you. This trip is such an improvement on last years and is the envy of other programs.

Mr. Yost

April 22nd, 2017 at 1:11 PM ^

This is what it's all about.

And sorry, I should be better than this...but FUCK YOU SEC. This is exactly what you are NOT. Frauds.


...ahh, I feel better.

Tip of the cap to Harbaugh, UofM, and company for educating and making a difference. Fuck anyone who attempts to stop either of those goals.

Go Blue.


April 22nd, 2017 at 1:12 PM ^

"OK, I'm all-in.  I'm finally convinced Harbaugh is one of the good guys."


Guess for some people it takes a meeting with the Pope, and obviously putting your players total lives first (not just their football performance).  How smart people can criticize our coach is beyond me


April 22nd, 2017 at 1:24 PM ^

are rethinking their decision to try and block Harbaugh at every turn. Could not have worked out better, creating one of the greatest benefits any cfb team has ever had. 


April 22nd, 2017 at 1:54 PM ^

This might be the most remarkable part of the story:


After the trip, some of Michigan's players are free to choose their own adventure in May. Many have enrolled in overseas study programs in several countries, including Iceland and Costa Rica. Some are headed to Ireland. Others simply are returning to campus. The Wolverines are taking advantage of an opportunity non-athletes often do in in college, earning credits while learning about another culture in another country or putting on a backpack and taking trains all over Europe. Their scholarship covers their tuition, room and board on the road. "The year-round schedule that has been created, that almost every football team has, for 12 months it provides no options like this," Harbaugh said. Until now.

That is really cool - many are not only going on this one trip as a team but taking advantage of purely optional individual opportunities afterwards.

Harbaugh isn't kidding when says he wants to give these guys a full college experience.  Love this man.


April 22nd, 2017 at 2:38 PM ^

its great that some of the players (i think 20+) are going to continue study abroad in other countries...

For example, I think it was Keith Washington that was going to BA Argentina....without any other members of the football team.

Instead he's joining up with other regular Michigan students and being a student athlete and not a kid that lives in the rarified bubble of the program while in AA. I believe this is the same with Furbush, who was going down to costa rica to study clean water technology(!) without any of the other football players going.

I like this model... and reminds me somewhat of Stanford of how they ensure their players are students first...While Michigan isn't quite that, this is a great step towards that model (which Jim started when he was there).

Kudos to Coach Harbaugh, the AD and most importantly, the generous donor that made this possible...

If the NCAA tries to ban this, you might as well end amatuerism, because this experience as student athletes is pretty much as great as you can have...hell for a regular student, this is a phenomenal experience.