The Wolverine

May 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? up an NFC Championship bout with Baas' former team in San Francisco, where the 49ers had beaten the Gi- ants earlier in the year. "The first time we went out there, I went out before the game and saw some of the guys, all that stuff," Baas recalled. "The playoff game was pure focus. After the game, I just stood there on the field in disbelief. "Later on when we had two weeks before the Super Bowl, it hit me … how many players just leave a team that has that success and meet again in the NFC Championship game, beat their old team and go on to win the Super Bowl? Not many. It was a pretty cool story." It concluded with the ultimate good job, or they were talking about certain people all week and you didn't hear their names," Baas said. "Eli had time to throw — all this dif- ferent stuff you take pride in, espe- cially on the biggest stage. "You're not only representing your family, but everybody from your high school, and of course the Uni- versity of Michigan. It goes on and on. After that game I had so many people tell me they didn't watch a game until that minute. "It's great to see how people react, how involved they are in your life and you don't even know about it. It's like being on the big screen. It's good to play well and represent ev- erybody." Especially his teammates, coaches prize. Baas and his linemates weren't given much of a chance straight up against New England lineman Vince Wilfork and his friends on the line in Super Bowl XLVI. Baas, though, knew defenses didn't come much tougher than the one the Giants had just beaten in San Francisco, and he put in plenty of time studying film in the days before the game. Putting preparation over pag- and head coach Tom Coughlin, whose tough but fair approach brought out Baas' — and every other Giant's — best during the playoffs. His true blessing when it comes to football has been lasting so long in the NFL, Baas noted, but learning two positions — and making the right choice out of high school — are right behind. "You're part of it for life," Baas eantry paid off. Manning, the game's MVP, completed 30 of 40 passes for 296 yards behind a great effort from the line. "It's always good to have people come up to you and say you did a The David Baas File … Started each of his last three seasons … Co-captain, con- sensus All-American and shared the Rimington Trophy as the nation's outstanding center in 2004 … Moved from guard to center in the Big Ten opener with Iowa that year … U-M's rushing offense gained 106 yards per game prior to Baas' posi- tion shift, but finished the conference schedule third in rush- ing (175 yards per game) … 2004 Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year … Became the 12th player in U-M football history to gain All-Big Ten first-team honors at least three times during his career (2002-04) … Was a finalist for the Outland Trophy and was on the list of candidates for the Lombardi Award in 2004 … Started 39 career games on the offensive line, including 38 straight to end his career … Played in front of 1,000-yard rushers for three consecutive years (Mike Hart in 2004, and Chris Perry in 2002 and 2003). Michigan Memory: Baas was thrown into the fire at the Michigan Accomplishments: Four-year letterman, 2001-04 beginning of the 2004 Big Ten season, asked to step in and solidify the center position after being tabbed by many as the nation's top guard. His play helped propel the Wolverines to a second straight Big Ten title. "Of course, you're always a little nervous, biggest thing is it's the Big Ten opener against Iowa, so you want to win this game. As a football player you don't want " he recalled. "The to go into a game thinking, 'I don't want to mess things up,' but sometimes you do that. You have to make sure you don't cripple yourself trying not to make a mistake, then make too many mistakes. "You're just trying to go out and play, knowing you're not perfect so just go out there and help my team win." 2003 is his lasting memory. "I remember the festivities afterward real well, too, (No. 33 overall) of the San Francisco 49ers in 2005, spending six years with the club… Has played in 103 career regular-sea- son games, starting 65 … Started 16 games in each of his last two seasons with the 49ers … Started 11 of 16 games in his first year with the New York Giants and all four playoff games, including the Super Bowl, in the 2011 championship season. Education: Baas finished his bachelor's degree in general Professional Accomplishments: Second-round draft pick " studies in 2011. Family: Baas and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Lakewood Ranch, Fla., with young sons Bryson and Tate. MAY 2012 THE WOLVERINE 77 "There's a ton of stuff. I was very honored to be elected cap- tain, but that's the moment I can constantly remember, that game and afterwards, the celebration. Just that feeling. It will always stick with me. Beating Ohio State to capture the outright Big Ten title in " he said. At U-M, Baas was a team co-captain and a consensus All-American, and he shared the Rimington Trophy as the nation's outstand- ing center in 2004. PHOTO BY PER KJELDSEN said of Michigan. "Of course, look- ing back on it now, it was Miami with Butch Davis, I looked at Georgia, Notre Dame with Bob Davie. Flor- ida — that was Steve Spurrier. All those coaches were gone within like two years of my college career. Lloyd Carr was the only one who stayed for my entire career. "I'm so glad I went there. Those who stay will be champions." Sometimes those in the NFL who take a chance and move can be, too. Baas has a title under his belt to prove it, a ring on order to back it up. ❑

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