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Michigan defensive lineman Maurice Hurst talks about the competition with AS Roma players Monday in Ann Arbor. Video by Brandon Folsom/Special to DFP

Harbaugh injured, but Strootman, AS Roma give American football a try as the get ready for match at Comerica Park

A softball injury kept Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh from playing in a soccer skills challenge against AS Roma on Monday afternoon. 

He said the injury came during a game in Boyne City earlier this month, forcing him to miss out on the fun his players enjoyed at Glick Field House. AS Roma will face Paris Saint-Germain F.C. in a match Wednesday night at Comerica Park. 

“I (wanted) to, but I pulled a muscle – a hip flexor – I acquired playing softball at Camp Michigania a couple of weeks ago,” Harbaugh said. “It still hasn’t (healed). It’s still with me. 

“I tried playing softball, the dads vs. the staff and camp members, and I tried to chase down fly balls and leg out grounders, and, ow, so I wasn’t able to play soccer.” 

The skills challenge featured AS Roma players Kevin Strootman, Maxime Gonalons and Umar Sadiq trying their best at throwing, catching, kicking and punting footballs, while several U-M standouts attempted to play goalkeeper, corner kicks and throw ins. 

AS Roma edged the Wolverines, but the experience rekindled the bond the two teams created when U-M visited during its spring trip to Rome. 

“It was really nice to be here with the guys, with the players,” said Strootman, a Dutch midfielder. “We won the challenge, not that we played very good.. 

“I tried (to play) with the (football), and it’s not a sport for me. It’s difficult. I’m happy that I chose to play normal football.” 

Harbaugh said he appreciated watching Strootman compete against the Wolverines because he never gave up in the…