Jim Harbaugh Presents Pope Francis with Michigan Helmet, Jordans

That's what it felt like to me. "It's nearly surreal, We were about 15 yards from him. It was very emotional", the coach told journalists April 26.

But when you gift those two items to the Pope, even if you happen to be the MI coach-ESPECIALLY if you're the MI coach-the gesture seems a little tone deaf.

"He looked at the helmet and he took the pair of Jordan sneakers, it was a box, helmet on top, and he took it and he smiled and nodded his head and then gave it to somebody next to him", Harbaugh told the Detroit News.

"I'm not sure the Holy Father knows a lot about 'futbol americano, ' but he doesn't need to".

"The experience was emotional, it was attractive", said Harbaugh, who added that he and his wife, Sarah, prayed with him.

Harbaugh and his wife, Sarah, briefly greeted the pope following his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square earlier that day. "He said, 'You go.' I couldn't go either, but I felt like if he's asking me I've got to say something". Harbaugh and the MI football team are in Rome, Italy for the start of spring practice, because Harbaugh likes to bend rules and, hey, why not use that massive athletics budget to get his players a trip to Italy and a different experience.

"I've been trying to figure out what this experience means and what am I supposed to do with it".

  • Leroy Wright