Michigan putting retired jerseys in circulation
College football's winningest school is putting three of its five retired jerseys back on the field, honoring former President Gerald Ford, Bennie Oosterbaan and Ron Kramer as ''Michigan Football Legends,'' this year.
Receiver Junior Hemingway wore a patch on his No. 21 jersey last season, honoring Desmond Howard as the first ''Michigan Football Legend,'' and Roy Roundtree will wear it this year.
A current player to be determined by the football staff will start wearing Ford's 48, Oosterbaan's 47 and Kramer's 87 after each former star is honored with a ceremony.
''The success and acceptance of the Desmond Howard Legend recognition led to conversations with the family members who had retired jerseys, several of whom were never recognized or celebrated in the appropriate manner,'' Brandon said in a statement. ''The Ford, Kramer and Oosterbaan families want to see their family member honored in this way.''
Tom Harmon's No. 98 and No. 11, which was worn by brothers Francis, Albert and Alvin Wistert, are the other two jerseys that have been retired.
''We have yet to have any discussions with the Wistert or Harmon families,'' Brandon said. ''This program is about tradition and legacy and this is a unique way to recognize these great Wolverines.''
Michigan coach Brady Hoke told Birmingham, Ala., radio station WJOX earlier in the day that one of his players would wear Ford's retired jersey this season after a caller asked if someone would wear No. 1, made famous by Anthony Carter and later worn by Braylon Edwards.
Michigan tentatively plans to put Oosterbaan's jersey back into circulation on Sept. 8 during the home opener against Air Force, Kramer's the next week against Massachusetts and Ford's on Oct. 13 against Illinois in the homecoming game.
''This is an outstanding way to recognize our former greats,'' Hoke said in a statement. ''It speaks to the tradition and success of our program, and it honors those who led the way in the past.''
Ford, Oosterbaan, Kramer will be honored in an area of Schembechler Hall when it is renovated and with lockers at the football facility named after the late coach and at Michigan Stadium.
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