Jim Harbaugh could follow up his best season as Michigan football coach yet with his most surprising move yet, according to one report.
Bruce Feldman, reporter for The Athletic, published a story Tuesday suggesting Harbaugh, who just finished his seventh season as Michigan’s coach, could leave his alma mater for the NFL.
Feldman cited an unnamed source, writing:
“‘I think it’s real,’ said one source this week when asked about the possibility of Harbaugh being interested in heading back to the NFL.”
The Free Press did not immediately hear back Tuesday once requesting comment from Michigan.
Jim Harbaugh, 58, just led Michigan to the College Football Playoff, an Orange Bowl loss and a 12-win season — his first at Michigan and his first as a college coach since he led Stanford to 12 wins and an Orange Bowl win in 2010. After that season, he took a job as the San Francisco 49ers head coach.
Harbaugh went 44-19 in the NFL, leading his teams to three NFC championship games, including a Super Bowl loss, over four seasons. He returned to Michigan in 2015, going 61-24, with four seasons of at least 10 wins. He is 1-5 in bowl games.
Feldman said the Las Vegas Raiders, who are in the playoff hunt under interim coach John Bisaccia, and the Chicago Bears, who are expected to fire coach Matt Nagy, could each be a destination for Harbaugh. The Jacksonville Jaguars fired former Ohio State coach Urban Meyer in his first season in the NFL. The Minnesota Vikings and Denver Broncos could be eyeing coaching changes after missing out on the expanded playoff field once again.
Harbaugh was 35-30 as Bears quarterback from 1987-93, after playing at Michigan under Bo Schembechler. He coached 2002-03 as an assistant with the Raiders when they were in Oakland, appearing in a Super Bowl.
The 2021 AP Coach of the Year, Harbaugh found success one season removed from a 2-4 record. His salary was reduced in the offseason before leading Michigan to its first win over Ohio State in his tenure and the first Big Ten title game win in school history.