U-M to put 3 retired jerseys on field
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Former President Gerald R. Ford's number will be worn again at Michigan.
Michigan football coach Brady Hoke said during an interview on an Alabama radio station Tuesday morning the school would be handing out No. 48, which Ford wore when he played for the Wolverines, this season.
Ford's number has been retired since Oct. 8, 1994 and was one of five jerseys to be honored with retirement by the school.
Hoke dropped the news as part of a question about whether or not a player would wear the No. 1 jersey at Michigan this season, which he said a player would not (No. 1 traditionally is worn by the team's top receiver; Braylon Edwards is among those Wolverines to have worn the number).
"That is something we're doing a lot of thinking about and we're doing that, we're honoring Desmond Howard now every year with one of our players who really deserves it, that's Roy Roundtree wearing No. 21," Hoke said on WJOX-FM in Birmingham, Ala. "We're going to do the same with Gerald Ford's jersey here this year.
"There's a lot of things we're looking at doing. Right now, that No. 1 is still hanging in the locker."
Later on Tuesday, Michigan announced the retired jerseys of former stars Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer also would be placed into circulation with patches similar to the one on the No. 21 jersey.
While the school did not announce who would be wearing the jerseys in the fall, the Nos. 48 (Ford), 47 (Oosterbaan) and 87 (Kramer) will now have commemorative patches attached to the jerseys.
"The success and acceptance of the Desmond Howard 'Legend' recognition led to conversations with the family members who had retired jerseys, several of whom were never recognized or celebrated in the appropriate manner," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a statement. "The Ford, Kramer and Oosterbaan families want to see their family member honored in this way."
Brandon added there have been no conversations with the families of Tom Harmon or the Wistert Brothers. Those are now the two remaining retired jerseys at the school.
Michigan tentatively will give its "legend" status to Oosterbaan on Sept. 8 against Air Force, Kramer on Sept. 15 against Massachusetts and Ford on Nov. 13 against Illinois.
"This is an outstanding way to recognize our former greats," Hoke said in a statement. "It speaks to the tradition and success of our program, and it honors those who led the way in the past."
Ford played center at Michigan from 1932 to 1934 and was Michigan's most valuable player as a senior. He also represented the Wolverines in the East-West Shrine Game after his senior year.
Last season, Michigan honored Howard with a legends patch on the No. 21 jersey worn by then-Wolverines receiver Junior Hemingway.