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Posted on Thu, Sep 8, 2011 : 5:36 p.m.

Ex-Michigan star Desmond Howard not spilling the beans on ceremony Saturday at Michigan Stadium

By Nick Baumgardner

Earlier this week, Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon told reporters to "stay tuned" with regard to what he and the department have in store for Wolverine legend Desmond Howard on Saturday.

On Thursday, Howard echoed that statement - refusing to spill the beans, and saying that the ceremony in his honor prior to Michigan's nighttime contest against Notre Dame Saturday will be memorable.

"I think once you see what Dave Brandon and the University of Michigan have in store, then you're going to understand (what we mean when we say) the 'Michigan difference,' " Howard said Thursday.


Desmond Howard will be honored by Michigan on Saturday, and he says fans will be impressed with how it's done.

Angela J. Cesere |

The 1991 Heisman Trophy winner and Michigan football icon is in town this weekend in part for his duties with ESPN's College "GameDay," and also to receive an honor from the university surrounding his recent induction into the College Football Hall of Fame.

On Tuesday, Brandon discussed certain aspects of the events surrounding Howard's pre-game ceremony. He did not give away what the school has in store, but did end any speculation that the university would retire his No. 21 jersey.

"We're going to recognize Desmond, and you stay tuned on how that's going to happen," Brandon said. "The retirement of jerseys is something we've been pretty public about in terms of having some serious difficulties and limitations.

"So I would not look forward to that, but I would look forward to some other things."

Earlier this summer, Howard said that it was time for Michigan to retire both his and fellow Heisman winner Charles Woodson's jerseys.

On Thursday, though, his tune was markedly different.

"As a player, you feel as though retiring your number is the biggest honor," Howard said. "But when you do what I do (at ESPN), and you see guys' numbers getting retired that didn't accomplish half of what you accomplished - it kind of cheapens it a bit. It's like everyone's retiring numbers now.

"I think they're doing something that you'll be really very surprised and pleased with."

Howard - who said he would be joined by 'close family' members this weekend - said he's aware of a portion of the festivities Michigan has in store for him Saturday, but not the entire package.

When asked if he's pleased with the part he knows about, Howard responded affirmatively.

"Watch my reaction," he smiled.

Howard slams Miami, Nevin Shapiro
Asked Thursday if he was concerned about the state of college football given the recent rash of off-field scandals, Howard said that he was, and that the lack of overall respect for coaches in today's game is a main reason for the issues.

"People can't wrap their mind around a clean player or clean program these days," he said. " And I remind people, 'You have to understand that I played for a coach who was a no-nonsense coach.' As players, we felt as though Bo Schembechler had eyes and ears everywhere on campus. We didn't think we could do anything that wouldn't get back to the old man.

"That's how we felt as players. You really didn't cross that line, and it didn't cross your mind to cross that line. You walked the straight and narrow. People can't wrap their minds around that now because it's so prevalent. But it's because the coaches don't have that type of respect - from the community, from their players or everybody they let infiltrate (your program)."

Howard - who is a current Miami resident - went on to say that he has a hard time believing how no one at the University of Miami put a stop to former rogue booster Nevin Shapiro during his lengthy run inside the Hurricane program.

He added that he met Shapiro for "five minutes at a (Miami) Heat game," and was easily able to draw his own conclusion from there.

"I live in Miami, I've seen that scumbag snake Shapiro," he said. "There's no way he could walk in this room and you wouldn't think he was scum. It's impossible. But they dealt with this guy for eight years and you're going to tell me no one knew?"

No longer a pose striker
Howard admits that his legendary Heisman pose following a punt return touchdown against Ohio State in 1991 was a moment that changed his life forever.

But does he strike the pose anymore?

"It was something that at the Hall of Fame enshrinement in South Bend, Jon Gruden asked me to do it, and I said, 'I don't do it anymore,' " he said. " If I do it, it cheapens that moment. Just leave it for those who experienced it in Ann Arbor." Howard also added that he doesn't offer any type of Heisman advice to Michigan junior quarterback Denard Robinson - saying that Robinson is talented enough to win the award someday, and that he should let his skills do all his talking for him.

"(The Heisman) was never a goal of mine. Once it becomes attainable you want to win it because we're competitors by nature," he said. " I never thought about it, I just went out there and played my game. To our credit, it wasn't like Michigan force-fed me the ball. I don't even think I had 1,000 yards receiving that year, everything that happened, happened within the flow of the offense.

"I tell (Robinson) to play his game and let the chips fall where they may."

Nick Baumgardner covers Michigan basketball for He can be reached at 734-623-2514, by email at and followed on Twitter @nickbaumgardner.



Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 3:45 p.m.

Tru2Blu76 well written post,couldn't agree more.. Don't want to let the cat out of the bag here,and steal anybodies thunder,but this game is going to be a history mark,and be very special to Michigan,and Michigan fans.. Dave Brandon interviewed on the HUGE show (radio) yesterday, ,but I would say if your lucky enough to have tickets,stay in your seats during half time,and pre and post game, and if your not there make sure you record this game..Mr Brandon and his staff are going to be quite creative,he said they are having a special Tribute to 9/11,the Michigan band has drawn up some special tunes,and video,for the event,and they are going to celebrate the lives of Michigan Alum that perished on that day..also look up in the sky ,something might appear ..DB staff at the AD dept,are very talented and really have done they're homework and research here.. he explained the vintage jersey/uniforms the players will be wearing,will have several details from different era's of Michigan football history,numbers on the helmet,from one era,stripes from another,Block M on the socks from Brandon,Brandy's era of the 70's and so on.. It was a great interview maybe can post it here for everyone to listen,because he has a ton of things planned for the evening,and its going to be special.. he went to say that he has had so many people trying to get tickets to this game,without naming names he said, celebrities,politicians,actors,past players,Alum,NFL players,and a ton of Michigan donors have called looking for tickets which he could not help them with ,but apparently Jim Leyland will be there in one of the suites,apparently Brady took the team in the off season to Comerica park this year,and talked about leadership coaching and life,and became friends..and requested to attend this game.. its going to be special folks,keep your eye's peeled.. I would like to say special thanks to Dave Brandon,because without him this might not have occured.. TiM GO BLUE


Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 12:21 p.m.

@ Matt ".....People can't wrap their mind around a clean player or clean program these didn't cross your mind to cross that line. You walked the straight and narrow. People can't wrap their minds around that now because it's so prevalent....." Its just the notion that Michigan is so righteous, and those other people at those other schools Don't/Wont do it like they do it in Michigan. ".....This is one of the three or four most egregious violations of N.C.A.A. bylaws in the history of the association,'' said Thomas E. Yeager, chairman of the association's infractions committee.....". these are the years that Desmond walked the campus, these are the days he talks about the Michigan way being the gold standard. Maybe Desmond cant sniff "Scum" as well as he thinks. Maybe when its all around you all the time you just get used to the smell.


Sat, Sep 10, 2011 : 12:43 p.m.

Terelle Pryor accepts cheap tattoos in exchange for some of his own belongings, Justin Fegan tries to Arson an occupied dorm over a bad cocaine deal. Winner? Darryl Stonum gets 2 dui's and violates probation and is still on the team. Mike Milano kicked off the team for almost killing a Michigan hockey player. I'm not saying TOSU is all nicey nicey, but the perception of Michigan being the Leaders and the best and wholesome and pure is laughable at best. Michigan is no different than any other university...... im just sayen

1st Down

Sat, Sep 10, 2011 : 3:35 a.m.

more allegations by the fan of the biggest cheaters in college football... yeah Aa go ahead and delete my post while this hypocrite guy claims that Desmond too money? what proof is there of that? buy a clue aa and delete this trolls posts because they are unsubstantiated and completely baseless ps...tressell.. clarett...tatgate...pryor... 200 thugs stealing from a charity event...gordon gee rooming with the ncaa pres back in the 80s... those things ARE substantiated...and you know it...

Steve Pepple

Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 11:40 a.m.

A grammatical error in the story has been corrected. Thank you to the reader who pointed it out.


Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 5:17 a.m.

RE: the Heisman Pose - "Jon Gruden asked me to do it, and I said, 'I don't do it anymore.... If I do it, it cheapens that moment. Just leave it for those who experienced it in Ann Arbor." --- I hope everyone appreciates Desmond Howard because he makes a lot of statements like this: unselfish and non-egogist. I for one will never forget seeing him strike that pose in the end zone. It was one of several equally thrilling moments of pride and happiness when watching Michigan play football. I also think we should appreciate how many great Wolverines players have accomplished so much later in their lives and how they talk about their U. of M. coaches. I am very glad Desmond is going to be featured and honored at this Saturday's game. May we see many more former Michigan players honored in similar fashion.

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 4:45 a.m.

Anything but retiring his number. Anybody who's tasteless enough to ask for it doesn't deserve it.


Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 1:53 a.m.

@OSUbeBetter, i know you aren't talking about NCAA violations? Please...... Back up the truck, pop that forty and enjoy the weekend with an upset by the team up north. No, not that team. Toledo! They will beat ohio this weekend!! 24-23. Now back to Desmond. We will all be there cheering for you and recognizing the great honor and character you and the great Michigan teams brought to this first class university.


Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 1:49 a.m.

"retire both he and fellow Heisman winner Charles Woodson's jerseys." What kind of English is this in an online paper!?!!?!!?

Charlie Brown's Ghost

Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 4:44 a.m.

You just be new here.


Fri, Sep 9, 2011 : 12:32 a.m.

Are you kidding me ?????? anyhow, Michigan will be pumped and ready to play the Irish, what a way to start night games. no way we lose on such a memorable night..Michigan Football..Awesome!!!!