Jim Harbaugh seems to be having a great time in Rome already

(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Michigan’s Rome trip is off to a roaring start.

Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh is having so much fun that he bartered for a pair of sunglasses from a vendor. And then also carried around a bottle of milk in his back pocket.

The Wolverines stopped and dropped off supplies to refugees in the city Sunday afternoon. Harbaugh and his father Jack also attempted to explain the differences between football in the United States and soccer, or what the rest of the world knows as football.

Michigan’s trip, which began over the weekend, will include a trip to the Vatican. According to the AP, defensive tackle Salim Makki and offensive lineman Grant Newsome will join Harbaugh and his wife as VIPs on the Vatican trip. The two players were chosen via an essay contest Harbaugh had for the team.

Makki, a Muslim, said in his essay that he considers Pope Francis a hero.

I am a devout Muslim but my grandmother was a Christian and I have had the fortune of having the values of both religions instilled in me. Growing up my father taught me the importance of coexistence in religions and respecting the beliefs of others. Last semester, I intentionally enrolled in the course “The History of Jesus” to advance my knowledge of Jesus Christ in order to relate with my teammates and coaches.

His Holiness Pope Francis is sincerely one of my heroes. In a time where Muslims have been scrutinized and wrongly identified with violence, Pope Francis has defended Islam and stated that not all Muslims are violent. His Holiness has continued his support of Islam by washing the feet of Syrian Muslim refugees and calling for mutual respect during the holy month of Ramada. A true hero defends and helps the hopeless and that’s why Pope Francis is a hero.

The Wolverines’ trip is being funded by an anonymous donor. And while Power Five schools voted in January to ban off-campus practices during vacation periods, the rule doesn’t go into effect until August and Michigan’s semester ends April 27.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of Dr. Saturday and From the Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!