© John Kernick

Michigan's Jim Harbaugh has some thoughts about chicken. 

Mike Pomranz
July 31, 2018

From Michael Phelps to Tom Brady, athletes are often known for maintaining diets that are far from the norm. But just because a diet seems strange doesn’t mean the reasons behind it are. For example, Phelps had to down thousands of calories to fuel his intense training sessions. And Brady credits his incredible longevity to his strict diet. But if a recent anecdote in Bleacher Report is to be believed, Michigan football coach Jim Harbaugh had some especially odd dietary advice for at least one of his players, and the reason behind it was even more bizarre.

In an article this week about Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson, Bleacher Report reached out to former Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight to get some details on “the Harbaugh Experience.” According to the sports site, Speight was able to sum up the uniqueness of playing for Harbaugh with one strange story. The quarterback said that at one point, Harbaugh pulled him aside and told him not to eat chicken. Why? Well, Speight claims that Harbaugh said, “because it's a nervous bird.”

“He thinks some type of sickness injected its way into the human population when people began eating white meats instead of beef and pork,” Speight elaborated. “And he believes it, 100 percent.”

Admittedly, this is one uncorroborated anecdote from a player who recently transferred from Michigan to UCLA, so it’s possible he has an axe to grind with his former head coach. Still, fabricating a story about Harbaugh calling the chicken a “nervous bird” would seem like an even stranger way to get revenge than Harbaugh saying it in the first place. So let’s just assume the statement is true. In that case, who’s to question Harbaugh? The man had a long NFL career as a player, including a trip to the Pro Bowl, before going on to land the honor of NFL Coach of the Year as well. It’s enough to make you nervous that he might be on to something…or maybe you’ve just eaten too much chicken?

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