The odd couple: Michigan's Mike Martin befriends Ohio State players in draft prep
The armistice that ended World War I was reached aboard a railroad car in a French forest. Civil War peace was hashed out at a courthouse in Appomattox, Va.
For one Michigan Wolverine and one Ohio State Buckeye, it was a T.G.I. Friday's in the Atlanta International Airport.
Former Michigan captain Mike Martin had a terrific Senior Bowl week in January, which helped to ignite the postseason draft momentum that has raised his pro stock. But while down in Mobile, Ala., he also got to know several former Buckeyes players, including center Mike Brewster and offensive tackle Mike Adams.
He got particularly close to receiver DeVier Posey -- and they ended up on the same flight back from Alabama to Detroit. With a lengthy layover to kill in Atlanta, the two agreed to meet for lunch and hash some things out.
"He’s an all right guy, actually," Martin deadpanned during a recent interview. "There’s just so much animosity and hatred toward each other('s programs), so there were a lot of things that needed to be said."
Melanie Mawell | AnnArbor.com
A Wolverine? Chilling with a Buckeye?
"I couldn’t believe it," Martin said, laughing. "I couldn’t believe it. But he’s a good kid, man. They’re good guys. We text now and everything."
Martin didn't divulge much about their conversation, but did say they found common ground while discussing the pressures weighing on them as they prepare for the NFL Draft.
Martin is projected to be taken as late as the third round, but is hoping to rise into the first. Posey is fighting to break through the logjam of mid-round receivers. Both, obviously, have a lot at stake -- including hundreds of thousands of dollars and a shot at chasing their dreams.
"Right now, that rivalry (stuff) all kind of goes out the window," Posey told AnnArbor.com last month at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. "Right now, we’re the same guys going after the same dream. It’s not too weird.
"There's hate, because of the game we play and the schools we played for, but people have to be people. And Mike's cool people."
Posey is friends with a few Michigan players, including receiver Roy Roundtree, tight end Kevin Koger and tailback Mike Shaw. All four are Ohio natives.
But for as close as he is to those guys, and now Martin, he remains bitter about how he closed his career against them. Posey won his first three games against the Wolverines, but lost the swan song, 40-34, last November.
"It just capped off a bad year. No one wants to lose to Michigan," said Posey, who played in only three games last season because of a suspension. "But I’ll take our record versus Michigan, our senior class versus their senior class.
"1-3 versus 3-1? I’ll take that."
It wasn't all touchy-feely between Martin and the rival Buckeyes. After all, he drew attention throughout the Senior Bowl week for his frequent skirmishes with Brewster during their head-to-head battles.
In some ways, it was a reprisal of their trench warfare in The Game. But things seem to have simmered between the two.
"You think certain things about guys, and then you meet them, and most of them are pretty cool," Brewster said. "Me and Mike, I respect his game. We got after it at the Senior Bowl, but I really enjoyed that, and I’m sure he did too.
"But we’re cool now. We’re all kind of in the same boat. We're just chasing dreams now, man."
Mike Martin and the Buckeyes?
An odd couple, indeed.