ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The Michigan football team will have another marquee name as its honorary captain this Saturday.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady — who is suspended for the first four games of the NFL season after dropping his case surrounding “Deflategate” and the use of deflated footballs during a 2015 playoff game — will lead his former college team when the Wolverines host Colorado at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
Some know Brady as a former Michigan quarterback who has gone on to NFL superstardom; others know him as the husband of supermodel Gisele Bündchen.
Michigan has had a pair of marquee names serve as honorary captain this season: NBA Hall of Fame player Michael Jordan and NFL Network broadcaster and radio host (and Michigan alumnus) Rich Eisen, and will have Major League Baseball Hall of Fame player Hank Aaron as an honorary captain Oct. 22 against Illinois.
Michigan’s first two honorary captains left the Wolverines starstruck.
“I’m from the Chicago area so pretty much everyone my age, or 10 years older than me, that was their idol growing up,” tight end Ian Bunting said. “Meeting MJ was sweet. My dad was a team doctor with the Bulls when MJ was playing. He would always talk about him and it was cool to see him. He’s arguably the best athlete of all time.
“Tom Brady is one of the greatest football players of all time, as well, so that’s awesome. The fact that this university can bring people like that in, there’s something to be said about that.”
Offensive lineman Kyle Kalis, meanwhile, said he “screamed like a little girl” when he met Jordan. The only other person who has left Kalis that starstruck? Country music legend Hank Williams Jr. backstage at a concert.
“I saw him and I was like, ‘Bocephus, I’m Kyle! I”m Kyle!’ ” Kalis said. “It was really cool, though.”
For those of you who aren’t familiar with Kalis’ reference or with Williams, other than a ditty he used to sing for Monday Night Football, which created a pop-culture catchphrase in “are you ready for some football” …
TOP FIVE ATTITUDE: Many players and coaches say they don’t pay attention to the national rankings, released at the start of this week. Michigan moved up a spot to No. 4 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25, and instead of shirking the attention, the Wolverines are taking it on.
“Coach Harbaugh was talking about how people say, ‘Oh, we don’t pay attention to that,’ ” Bunting said. “Even I’ve said that in the past. But he was talking to us about, ‘Why wouldn’t you pay attention to that? You should embrace that. You should use that as motivation, to work even harder, because you know everyone’s coming.’ ”
VALIANT APPAREL: Bunting sported a blue-and-gold baseball cap with a letter “V” on it as he spoke with media members Tuesday evening at Schembechler Hall. The wardrobe choice was some impromptu advertising, following Michigan’s afternoon practice; Bunting, teammate Jack Wangler and Wangler’s father, John, who is a former Michigan quarterback, have teamed to create a clothing line called Valiant.
Valiant’s logo is a well-modified block-M — picture the iconic Michigan logo with the stems of the M cut off, and you’ll get a winged V.
Ian Bunting wearing a Valiant baseball cap, part of a brand he is working on with the Wanglers. Available thru M Den pic.twitter.com/qU2SPKtKNb
— Rachel Lenzi (@RLenziCMG) September 13, 2016
Valiant is a startup company; Bunting said he and Wangler had to be cleared by UM’s compliance office in order to start their own business, but Bunting also said he has plans to expand it into a clothing and street-wear line.
Bunting isn’t the first athlete with Michigan ties to go into haberdashery. Lee Moffie, who played hockey at Michigan from 2009 to 2013, started State & Liberty Clothing Co. in August 2014 with business partner Steven Fisher.
Bunting is also a budding musician. Earlier this summer, he made a music video starring himself and his teammates — and wore a Valiant T-shirt at the start of the video.