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Thursday Morning Brews: Forza Blu

Rome, the NFL Draft, and more in this morning’s Brews

NCAA Football: Michigan Spring Game Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Thursday, folks. It’s NFL Draft day, and Michigan looks to have many players representing the Maize and Blue in the NFL after these next few days. Also in this morning’s Brews we have the highlights of Rome days three and four for the football team, a check-in with Grant Newsome, and a bit of depth on the Mel Pearson hire.

Let’s hit the links:

Rome Day three for the team got started with a bang, or really a splat, as they spent the morning at a paintball facility just outside the city. The team was divided into a number of squads who then played a tournament. At the end, things were close and hotly contested. Coach Harbaugh, ever the competitive one, doesn’t like playing from cover - instead preferring to run around out in the open like a mad man, shooting his gun with one hand. Following the morning, the team had what looks to be an awesome lunch and then spent the afternoon at a lake. At dinner, Harbaugh and Wilton Speight combined to do their best impression of Michigan Alum and Stool Pres. Dave Portnoy with a pizza review.

Rome Day four began at Vatican City for the team, as they attended a Papal Address during the morning. Afterward, Harbaugh, Grant Newsome, and Salim Makki had a very brief audience with the Pope - during which Harbaugh presented some Jordans and a customized helmet as a gift. Earlier in the off-season Harbaugh asked if anyone wanted to join him in briefly meeting the Pope and required those that did to write a letter explaining why; Newsome and Makki were the letters selected by Coach. After lunch, the team toured the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica - the latter being my favorite building anywhere from an architecture standpoint. Also, Khalid Hill took control of the team’s Instagram account on day four - so check that out for more footage of the team’s activities.

In non-Rome football news, the NFL draft starts tonight at 8 PM. The draft is continuing its road show away from Radio City Music Hall in New York, and will be in Philadelphia this year. Michigan has 18 players in the draft this year, with the lions share expected to be drafted at some point. Depending on which mock draft you look at, Jabrill Peppers and Taco Charlton could be selected in the first round. In other draft news, Darren Rovell recently took the Wonderlic test and discovered he’s an asshole for publishing draft prospects’ low scores.

On Tuesday afternoon we learned some scary new details of Grant Newsome’s already gruesome knee injury suffered last season. In addition to being hospitalized for several weeks, requiring several surgeries, and only starting to walk again in December, Newsome recently said he was “minutes” away from needing to have his leg amputated. Thankfully, Newsome received excellent medical care and looks to play again in 2018. On the Rome trip, he appears to be getting some well earned rest & relaxation.

Michigan Hockey experienced a changing of the guard over the past few weeks as legendary coach Red Berenson retired and transitioned into an athletic department position, and former assistant Mel Pearson returned to take the helm. Pearson’s tenure started on Monday, meeting with AD Warde Manuel and then with Red turning over the head coach’s office to Pearson. Mel then met with the team and took his place at the podium for his introductory press conference. The welcome video put together by the University is five minutes long and has a lot of great moments in it. Go Blue.