Originally posted on Fox Sports Detroit  |  By DAVE HOGG  |  Last updated 9/7/13
ANN ARBOR -- As a big-time college football player and a star of movies and television, Mark Harmon has seen a lot of things over the years. Until Saturday, though, he'd never seen his dad's No. 98 Michigan jersey on the football field. That changed when Harmon, who took a break from shooting "NCIS" to visit the Big House Saturday night, saw Devin Gardner run out under the "Go Blue" banner wearing what might be the most famous jersey in Wolverines history. "The only time I've seen dad's jersey is on film," Harmon said. "This is going to be great. Dad was a humble man, so he might be a little embarrassed by this, but he'd also be very proud." Tom Harmon wore No. 98 from 1938-40, and lead the nation in scoring as a First-Team All-American in each of his final two seasons. As a senior, he not only won the Heisman Trophy, he earned an honor that is unique for a Michigan athlete. In his final game, Harmon ran for three touchdowns, threw for two more, kicked four extra points and intercepted three passes in a 40-0 victory over Ohio State. At the end of the game, Harmon was giving a standing ovation by the Ohio Stadium crowd. That, though, was 11 years before Mark Harmon was born, and his dad wasn't the type of guy who trumpted his own horn. "His Heisman Trophy was always on his desk, but it wasn't on the dinner table," Mark said. "The only game he ever talked about was one against Minnesota where he missed an extra point in a 7-6 loss." For all of his personal achievements, Tom Harmon always focused on his team. That extra point he missed? It probably cost the Wolverines a national championship -- they finished third in the final AP poll to the No. 1 Gophers. "My dad was only proud of Michigan," Mark said. "He was proud that everything in his life came back to Michigan." His Michigan career, though, was hardly the only thing the elder Harmon had as a possible source of pride. He served as both a bomber and fighter pilot during World War II, and was shot down over Japanese-occupied China in 1943. After being rescued by Chinese guerilla fighters, he received the Silver Star and the Purple Heart. After the war, he had a brief NFL career, but he had lost much of his speed to the injuries he sustained in the war, and he moved into broadcasting, where he worked into the 1980s. Tom Harmon died of a heart attack in 1990, but not after seeing his son become a star as UCLA's quarterback and then go on to his career in movies and TV. Now his jersey will be on the back of another runpass threat. Gardner has a long way to go to match Tom Harmon's accomplishments, and he's not likely to kick extra points, intercept passes or punt, but he's certainly the closest thing the Michigan program has to the original No. 98.
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