Former Michigan offensive lineman Elliott Mealer grew up his entire life as an avid Ohio State Buckeyes’ fan. He ultimately decided to go against his favorite team and play for the Michigan Wolverines after he had the chance to meet former coach Lloyd Carr.
Before he made it to campus, however, tragedy struck his family.
He and his brother Brock were involved in a car accident that killed their father and Elliott’s girlfriend and left Brock paralyzed from the waist down. Then-Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel sent the family flowers in his condolences, but that wasn’t all he did.
In 2010, Brock walked out on to the field at Michigan Stadium and touched the famed “M Club” banner before a game against UConn. Following that tremendous moment, Tressel sent a handwritten letter to Elliott’s and Brock’s aunt congratulating both of them on their monumental achievements.
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Elliott opened up about the moment for the first time with MGoBLue.com‘s Steve Kornacki.
Barber had sent a photo of Brock touching the banner to Tressel along with a thank you for the signed Ohio State football helmet he sent for a charity golf outing held in memory of her brother, David, the father of her nephews. Part of the proceeds went to benefit paralyzed patients at Michigan’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
Elliott Mealer was taken aback by that kind gesture.
“It was hand-written and it really touched me,” said Elliott. “Jim Tressel and his brother, Doc, recruited me.”
“I’ve never shared this before, but I think that it’s a part of the story that should be told. To have an Ohio State coach write ‘Go Blue!’ on a card. How neat was that?”
It’s nice to know that Tressel and even Ohio State and Michigan fans were able to put away their hatred for one another to embrace the Mealer family in their tragic moment.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports