Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh once donned full pads to fill the role of emergency quarterback while he was coaching the San Francisco 49ers.
Harbaugh’s intensity and passion for football have been among his trademarks for the duration of his coaching career, so seeing him unafraid to adjust to sweltering Southern heat was not shocking.
To Tennessee Titans tight end Delanie Walker, Harbaugh’s decision wasn’t out of character at all. In an interview with The Tennessean this week, Walker—who played two seasons under Harbaugh when he was the San Francisco 49ers head coach—said Harbaugh once donned full pads to fill the role of emergency quarterback when the 49ers were lacking depth at the position.
“He dressed up in full gear and practiced the whole practice—pads, helmets, everything on. He had the whole uniform on,” Walker said of Harbaugh. “We came out and said, “Who is that dude out there? And it was Jim Harbaugh. He had some old high top cleats on.
“He did pretty good. He just couldn’t throw the deep, deep pass.”
A former NFL quarterback, Harbaugh coached the 49ers from 2011 to 2014 before returning to Michigan, his alma mater.
The offseason has been full of amusing Harbaugh headlines ranging from his fandom of Lil Wayne to his khaki pants obsession, and Walker said the coach’s free-spirit attitude should bode well for his first season coaching the Wolverines.
“I think he is going to be great [at Michigan],” Walker said. “People buy into his philosophy. Every team he has ever been on has been good, right? So you tell me what he is going to do. Young kids love to have a coach who is crazy.”
- Mike Fiammetta