BY NAWEED SIKORA
Daily Sports Editor
Published January 20, 2004
Michigan punt returner and wide receiver Steve Breaston
dazzled fans with his slippery moves, fluid cuts and breathtaking
speed. But from where did this reserved, shy player arrive, and
where will he take the Michigan football program in years to
More like this
Careful. If you’re not paying close
attention, he’ll slip right past you.
He certainly won’t announce his presence, so you better be
ready if he comes.
And even if you do see him, you might not notice him.
Let me give you a hint: He could be in his room playing
Playstation, in a corner writing poems, or somewhere on campus just
Don’t bother trying to listen for him. He doesn’t
say much, and if he does, it won’t be that loud.
Michigan football’s newest sensation, 6-foot-1, 176-pound
Steve Breaston, has always been a quiet guy. But this quiet guy
made a lot of noise in the Big House this season, and he has barely
scratched the surface.
Breaston made the most impossible plays look dangerously
routine. Left, right, backwards, forwards, up or down, no matter
which way Breaston took the ball, the fans came to expect something
unbelievable. The redshirt freshman from North Braddock, Pa. never
seemed to take a wrong turn, and, if he did, he made up for it with
a couple more spontaneous turns that nobody, especially the
defenders, thought possible. In the blink of an eye, he would be
But Breaston’s ability to make 110,000-plus fans oooh and
ahhh in amazement as he leaves defenders in the dust with his
lightning-quick cuts and dazzling speed is not the most stunning
thing about him.
What’s surprising is the way he has chosen to express
himself. After all, it’s not every day that your star
football player does his talking through verse.
Of course, Breaston is not your everyday player. He’s
poetry in motion.
The written word
Breaston has always been very private with his writing, since he
writes mainly for himself.
In fact, if his advisor had never given head coach Lloyd Carr
the poem Breaston showed her for an assignment last fall, most
people would still be unaware of this talent.
If you talk to him, you would never guess what kind of talent he
displayed on the football field, either.
One of his poems was submitted for a Hopwood Award, one of the
most prestigious writing honors at the University.
Breaston says writing is something he’s always been
interested in, and since he daydreams a lot about life, he has a
lot to write down.
“Sometimes I sit back and think I’m someone else
when I write, not a student-athlete but just a normal
person,” Breaston said. “What would he be going
through? I think about what is going on back home.”
When he was younger, his daydreaming had his football coaches
wondering if Breaston was ever paying any attention to what they
were saying. They would go to his mother, Charlene Breaston, and
ask if her son was listening to them.
“Steven’s a thinker; he used to sit there and think
a lot,” Charlene said. “His coaches thought he was
listening to them, but he would be looking somewhere else. But then
he would go out and do the things they told him to do.”
Steve’s brother, David, wrote poetry, and he is the
brother Steve usually consults for advice or counseling on his
Steve has three brothers in all — Brian is the oldest,
followed by David, and then Michael.
“He’s been writing for a long time, at least since
junior high,” David said. “He used to write something,
and then throw it away. I encouraged him to start keeping it,
recording it in a journal somewhere. It might not be a big deal
now, but later on he might want to look at it.”
Breaston writes about anything that pops into his head. The
topic is usually something he’s been through in his life, or
something going on back home. David says Steve recently showed him
a poem he wrote about being interviewed.
“I told him how I thought it was an interesting
perspective,” David said. “He talks about how
he’s quiet and so it’s hard for him
Other times, says David, Steve’s poems can be a little
over the top when talking about a more serious subject, such as his
friend’s death about a year ago.
“He tends to exaggerate in some parts more for the
effect,” David said.
Breaston hasn’t declared a concentration, but he says
he’s interested in creative writing.
Whenever Breaston gets that urge to write, he grabs a pen and a
piece of paper and starts putting words down.