Skip to main content

Why football players are like blisters, according to Jim Harbaugh

Pardon My Take is the most popular sports podcast in the world. For those of you reading this whose hair just blew backwards by the fury at which that sentence flew over your head, imagine if "The Man Show" somehow became "The Tonight Show." That's the sports media landscape in 2017.

Anyway, Jim Harbaugh appeared on Pardon My Take as part of the duo's "Grit Week." The Michigan head coach was asked if it's possible to coach grittiness and gave an answer that's equal parts instructive and equal parts "WTF did I just read?"

"I think of it like building a callus," he said. "The human body, what a tremendous organism. It actually craves contact. It likes contact, craves it, opposed to a car. It doesn't have the ability to repair itself or callus over but the human body does. Much like conditioning can be improved, so can that callus of toughness and grit. It's like a blister, it's soft, it's got fluid in it, it's going to break, but the great thing about it when it does break it'll callous over even harder and stronger."

Amid an interview that's mostly joke questions, Harbaugh gave this reasoned answer of why he likes recruiting so much.

"It's an amazing process just to go all across the country and you meet really good people," he said. "It makes you feel good that there's genuine, down to earth, good people, and they have one main commonality: they want the best for their son... It's a real honor to be somebody that someone trusts enough to drop their most prized possession that they in the world -- it doesn't matter what they have financially or don't have financially -- they are dropping their most prized possession in the world off at your doorstep and they expect you to return them the same good, quality person that they drop off. That's a huge responsibility but it's a tremendous honor that somebody would trust you to be in that role."

Harbaugh also said there is value to his recruiting overnight sleepovers beyond the "Can you believe this crazy Harbaugh guy?!?!" headlines.

"You stay up a little bit and you talk, you tell stories, you laugh," he said. "And you get to know everybody else in the family. I've had some amazing times. You pop a little popcorn and maybe watch some highlights. Donovan Jeter, we watched an entire playoff game and that was awesome. You get to here what he is being coached; now I understand what kind of player he is, things he needs to improve on, things he does well. You have a great dinner, wake up, eat breakfast, then you go to school, now you meet some of the teachers and counselors."

If you want to listen to the full interview, click here.