ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- With actor Mark Wahlberg and NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski visiting Ann Arbor earlier this fall camp and Patriots quarterback and Michigan graduate Tom Brady coming in on Thursday, the Michigan football team definitely has had quite the star-studded cast of visitors for this year’s preseason workouts.
“Some of the people that have come in an addressed the team and been with the team, I think they all have had a message,” Michigan coach Brady Hoke said. “It’s nice when people want to come see this great university and this program and obviously when you have a guy like Tommy, who played in this program, it’s significant.”
Brady’s message to the team on Thursday was largely about appreciating the program and opportunities, as apparent by the video on the school’s website.
“Where did I learn to love the game?” Brady said. “Where did I learn to practice? Where did I learn to compete? It was sitting in the same chairs you guys are sitting in today.”
The eight-time pro-bowler, who has been named Super Bowl MVP twice, as well the NFL MVP twice, also told the team that “the single greatest achievement I’ve ever had as a football player” was being named the Michigan football captain during his redshirt junior and senior seasons.
Brady’s appearance at practice Thursday morning was a complete surprise to the team, but Hoke was honored that Brady made time for it considering he’s in town for the Patriots’ preseason game against the Lions.
“It worked out pretty well with playing Detroit,” Hoke said. “You’ve got to give him a lot of credit, because the third preseason game for a lot of people is a game where a lot of your guys’ starters play significant downs. And for him to work that out and get here early in the morning, it was really something that was special.”
Hoke said he had seen Brady at a social event in Boston, and the two had talked then about possibly having Brady speak with the team at some point. But no doubt the timing of Brady’s speech to the team -- just nine days before the season opener -- provided plenty of encouragement for the Wolverines.
“It just proves, number one, what a class act he is, and secondly, how much he loves this university and this program,” Hoke said. “It was a great morning in a lot of ways.”