Former U-M players speak out on Notre Dame

Former players react to the cancellation of the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry and U-M coach Brady Hoke's "chickening out" comment.

Michigan coach Brady Hoke said Notre Dame was "chickening out" of the annual rivalry game last week. Here are some responses by former Wolverine standouts on Hoke's comments and Notre Dame cancelling the annual showdown.

Charles Woodson, cornerback 1995-97: "I think that was a decision they should've polled the fans and said, ‘should we not play Michigan?' I guarantee they don't cancel that game if they do that. Who doesn't want to see Michigan-Notre Dame? There is not one person out there that doesn't want to see us. I just think it was a bad move, whether they ‘chickened' out or not. I just think it was a bad move on their part by cancelling, you cancelled a very good football game."

Steve Everitt, offensive lineman form 1988-92: "Like I needed another reason to hate Notre Shame. They're embarrassing, it's a joke. They're whole existence is, I don't know, it's a sham. And from Manti Te'o to Michigan State's greatest game ever when they tied each other in '65 or whatever that was. I hate them both. I could care less about anything, some horrific disaster happened to their campus—good! Charlie Weis, the best thing that happened when he was there, I remember one of the greatest things I ever saw on the sideline was when Charlie Weis got taken out on the sideline. His back of foot touched his head. Just little things like that, you know, stick with you."

Anthony Thomas, running back from 1997-00: "It is what it is. We knew it was a business decision. We knew those guys do more stuff for the money. It's not for the rivalry or the competition anymore. It's more for the money. It's sad for those guys that do that. But there is nothing we can do about it. We just got to wait until they settle in and play us again."

Remy Hamilton, kicker form 1993-96: "Michigan think it's unfortunate. You know, it's a great rivalry. People get pumped up for the game. it's great for the alumni to get back to the games. For them to basically make a business decision over a great rivalry is really unfortunate."

Brian Greise, Michigan quarterback from 1993-97: "I was fortunate to play in that game and be part of that game each year that I played. And I know it's been on and off, but I was sitting there in '93 when Remy Hamilton kicked that game winning field goal and it was one of the most special memories that I have. As well as some of the other Notre Dame games. The game in '97 was a slugfest. It's just a great rivalry. And, it's a shame. It's really is a shame. They are two of the most storied programs with the most amount of history. And that game should continue as long as possible in my opinion. So, yeah, it is a shame they decided to cancel it and I'm not happy about it."

Jeff Backus, offensive lineman from 1996-00: "I just thought it was funny. Just, the media needs things to talk about it. It was an opportunity for them to over analyze it and make it a bigger deal then what it is. I think his biggest message was he was disappointed in the fact that the rivalry was no longer going to be. So, I know I always looked forward to playing Notre Dame. I loved watching Michigan playing Notre Dame when I was growing up. It's sad that it's not going to happen in the future."

Ronald Bellamy, wide receiver from 1999-2002: "That Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry is special. And to see Notre Dame is backing out of it—they are chicken. I'm going to back you Brady, they are chicken. And you know, precious things like that, I think college football, the landscape of it is changing drastically. And (we're not) preserving these rivalries . And I think money is taking over everything. It's just the society we live in today. But I think we need to preserve some of these rivalries. And I think that is one of the special ones in college football."

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