staff, April 17, 2014

Herb Weitman-USA TODAY Sports
Herb Weitman-USA TODAY Sports

(AP) Dan Dierdorf is coming back to the booth and will be the radio analyst for University of Michigan football games this fall.

The Pro Football Hall of Famer will work with play-by-play announcer Jim Brandstatter, one of his teammates while playing for the Wolverines during the 1969 and 1970 seasons. The announcement Thursday was made by Michigan and IMG College, the school's multimedia rights partner.

"This is the only broadcasting job that I would have considered after retiring from the network television," Dierdorf said in a statement. "It's a chance to return to the city where Bump (Elliott) gave me an opportunity to play for the greatest program in the world and Bo (Schembechler) made me a man.

"I was always jealous of Jim calling games at Michigan and often said that one of my goals was to come back and call a couple of series with him. To work with one of my best friends, someone that I've known my entire adult life is really special, and I'm looking forward to getting in the booth with Jim this fall."

The 64-year-old Dierdorf said in November he was leaving network broadcasting because the travel was becoming too tough on his artificial knees and hips and bad back. He was an NFL analyst for CBS Sports last season and worked for ABC's "Monday Night Football" from 1987-99.

"I want to go tailgate with some of my old buddies," he said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press last fall.

Now, he can.

Brandstatter has been Michigan's radio analyst for football games for the previous 34 years and is the radio analyst for the Detroit Lions. Michigan's previous play-by-play announcer, Frank Beckmann, retired after last season.

"I'm really excited about the challenge of moving to play by play," Brandstatter said in a statement. "I have huge shoes to fill, but, I have learned so much from the great ones I've worked with, and I can't wait to get started."

Dierdorf was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2000. The Canton, Ohio, native was honored in his hometown in 2008 with the Pro Football Hall of Fame's Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award. Frank Gifford, John Madden and Len Dawson are the only others to receive both honors.

Dierdorf was elected to the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame in 2001 and Brandstatter was inducted this year.

"I couldn't be more pleased to have a former Michigan Wolverine All-American and Hall of Fame NFL player to be in the booth with Jim Brandstatter to bring Michigan football to fans," Michigan athletic director Dave Brandon said in a telephone interview with The AP.

After starring at Michigan, Dierdorf was drafted in 1971 and went on to become one of the NFL's best offensive tackles with the St. Louis Cardinals during his 13-year career.

He has estimated he's attended just five games in the 43 years since he left Ann Arbor. Now, he'll see plenty more at the Big House and on the road. IMG College compensates the school's broadcasters such as Dierdorf and Brandstatter.

Wolverines coach Brady Hoke said in a statement that both are "great Michigan Men."

"They will provide a unique perspective to the broadcasting booth that I'm sure our fans will enjoy on football Saturdays, and you can guarantee they will have a keen analysis of Michigan football on each broadcast," Hoke said.