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#pounditFriday, August 19, 2022

Jim Harbaugh

Jim Harbaugh a realistic possibility for 1 NFL team?

Jim Harbaugh walking

The idea of Jim Harbaugh leaving Michigan after his best season with the program sounds farfetched to some, but the rumors are not going away. While there are likely several NFL teams that would have interest in Harbaugh, one may be worth keeping an eye on.

According to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk, there is buzz building within NFL circles that the Las Vegas Raiders could land Harbaugh. As Florio puts it, there is a belief that Raiders owner Mark Davis “wants, and will get” Harbaugh.

The Raiders are still fighting for a playoff spot. They can punch their ticket to the postseason with a win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday night. If they make it, interim head coach Rich Bisaccia would have a better chance of keeping the job. Davis is said to be impressed with Bisaccia, but would he prefer him over Harbaugh? Probably not.

Harbaugh began his coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the Raiders in 2002, so he has ties to the organization. Las Vegas also has an established starting QB in Derek Carr, which could appeal to Harbaugh.

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before being forced out over issues with the team’s front office. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012. He has a rare resume that includes success at both the NFL and college levels.

If Harbaugh does shock the college football world and leave Michigan, the Raiders and at least one other team will likely pursue him.

Photo: Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh watches warmups before a game against Northern Illinois at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021

Report: 2 NFL teams could pursue Jim Harbaugh as head coach

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh is once again being linked to an NFL return, and a new report names two teams that could have serious interest in the Michigan coach.

The Las Vegas Raiders and Miami Dolphins could both make a run at Harbaugh, according to Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports. Harbaugh has ties to the Raiders organization and is well-liked by owner Mark Davis, though Davis is also pleased with the job interim coach Rich Bisaccia has done this season. Regardless, the chance to lure Harbaugh could prove tempting to Davis if it is plausible.

The Miami Dolphins may also have interest in Harbaugh. That is largely driven by Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a Michigan alumnus and longtime fan of Harbaugh. Miami’s interest in Harbaugh is serious enough that his name was brought up earlier in the season when the organization considered a midseason coaching change. If Brian Flores is not retained, it makes sense that the Dolphins could look that way again.

What we don’t know right now is whether Harbaugh would be interested in an NFL opportunity. He just led Michigan to the College Football Playoff after beating Ohio State, the two most notable accomplishments of his Wolverines tenure to date. On one hand, he may want to stay and build on that momentum. On the other, his stock is high right now, and one recruit’s father has claimed that the NFL is still lingering on Harbaugh’s mind.

Harbaugh is appealing because of his track record of success, having taken the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl in his first NFL head coaching stint. If a team wants him badly enough, it’s possible his head could be turned, though it’s probably still unlikely.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh hinted to recruit that he could leave Michigan?

Jim Harbaugh in a Michigan hat

Jim Harbaugh just led Michigan to its most successful season since he was hired by the school seven years ago, but there has been some talk about him potentially leaving for a new job. Apparently the coach has not ruled it out.

A report earlier this week claimed Harbaugh is considering a potential return to the NFL. According to one recruit’s father, Harbaugh recently admitted that is a possibility.

Larry Clemons, the father of four-star wide receiver Darius Clemons, told Sam Webb of The Michigan Insider that Harbaugh admitted to the Clemons family that he will “entertain” conversations with NFL teams.

“He said that he’ll entertain (it),” Larry Clemons said. “He was up front with us about that. I had Coach Harbaugh speak to my pastor. They had a good conversation. Our pastor asked him about that, and that’s just that’s the (reply) that he gave him.”

Darius Clemons committed to Michigan last month, so he must not have been too concerned. If anything, he probably appreciated the honesty from Harbaugh.

There are two schools of thought with Harbaugh. One is that he actually is contemplating a return to the NFL, where he enjoyed plenty of success as a head coach. He went 44-19-1 in four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014 before being forced out over issues with the team’s front office. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012.

Harbaugh also could be trying to create leverage with Michigan. He signed an extension at a discounted rate last season, so he may want a raise after winning the Big Ten and taking the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff. College coaches use offers from other programs and NFL teams all the time to secure new contracts. It is certainly possible Harbaugh is taking that approach.

Harbaugh seems to genuinely love Michigan. He was swatting away NFL coaching rumors even when things were going poorly in Ann Arbor. We doubt he’ll leave, but you never know.

Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh giving thought to NFL return?

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh is coming off his best season in the seven years he has been at Michigan, but that is not going to stop the speculation that he could leave the school for another job.

Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported on Tuesday that he has been told by sources at the NFL and collegiate level that Harbaugh is considering a return to the NFL. One source said he believes the talk is “real.”

Michigan went 12-2 this season and won the Big Ten for the first time since Harbaugh was hired in 2015. The Wolverines won the conference by finally beating Ohio State in the regular season and dominating Iowa in the Big Ten Championship Game. Michigan then lost to Georgia in the College Football Playoff, but the season is widely considered a success.

There was talk of Harbaugh being on the hot seat after Michigan went 2-4 in a COVID-shortened season last year. The coach then signed a discount contract extension with the school. He could probably secure a raise and extension now after taking the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff. Why, then, would Harbaugh be tempted to leave Ann Arbor?

As Feldman notes, there are two NFL head coaching vacancies that might interest Harbaugh — the Las Vegas Raiders and Chicago Bears. Harbaugh began his coaching career as a quarterbacks coach with the Raiders in 2002. He played for the Bears for seven seasons after they drafted him in the first round in 1987.

Still, the jump seems unlikely. Harbaugh loves Michigan so much that he took a pay cut last year rather than looking for another job. He earned a significant amount of bonus money this season due to the team’s performance, but he donated it all back to Michigan’s athletic department.

NFL teams would certainly have interest in Harbaugh, who went 44-19-1 in in four seasons as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He took the team to the NFC Championship Game three straight years and Super Bowl in 2012. Harbaugh’s resume is plenty impressive.

That doesn’t mean he wants to leave. Harbaugh was swatting away NFL coaching rumors even when things were going poorly at Michigan. After beating Ohio State and reaching the College Football Playoff, he likely feels he has finally gotten over the hump. The same rumors will pop up every year, but we wouldn’t expect Harbaugh to go anywhere.

Photo: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh not dismayed despite Michigan beatdown

Jim Harbaugh in sunglasses

Jim Harbaugh came up small in a big spot once again on Saturday night.

Harbaugh’s Michigan Wolverines were completely dismantled by the Georgia Bulldogs, who punched their ticket to the National Championship Game with a 34-10 victory.

After the latest loss, Harbaugh did not sound dismayed.

“It was a great season. To me it’s one of the best seasons in Michigan football history. We were trying to make it greater. We were trying to make it greater tonight. But it was still a great season,” Harbaugh told reporters after the game.

Harbaugh ultimately chalked the blowout up to happenstance. He felt Georgia played their very best game of the season, while Michigan’s players did not. There were no emotions beyond that.

It’s also a time to look forward, Harbaugh said. He believes this is only just the beginning of a Wolverines resurgence.

“It’s still a beginning for this team,” Harbaugh added. “It’ll begin anew this year. Start of a new year.

“Proud of (the team), the way they kept fighting. I could say they were — there’s never any quit in these guys. It’s a very resilient — ton of resolve with this football team, and as I said, to me it feels like a start. Feels like a beginning.”

Sometimes it seems too easy for Harbaugh to brush off failure but perhaps that all comes with a wealth of experience.

Image: Nov 16, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh reacts during the second half against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Video: Jim Harbaugh was so fired up ahead of playoff semifinal

Jim Harbaugh interview

Jim Harbaugh has waited a long time to coach Michigan in the College Football Playoff. That showed during his interview just prior to kickoff Friday.

Harbaugh was asked by ESPN’s Marty Smith what his message had been to his players prior to the game. Harbaugh gave a classic answer, raising his voice and culminating with an impassioned cry to “go let it rip.”

Harbaugh definitely has his attitude back after several years of criticism. That showed after his win over Ohio State, and it’s been consistently on display since. Combine that with the importance of the game and it’s easy to understand why he was so fired up.

As for Harbaugh’s gameplan against Georgia, he may have already shown us a hint already.

Jim Harbaugh gives funny interview about Daxton Hill’s status

Jim Harbaugh in a Michigan hat

Michigan has faced questions about the status of starting nickelback Daxton Hill ahead of the Wolverines’ College Football Playoff game against Georgia on Friday. Jim Harbaugh was asked about Hill during a media conference call and in an interview with ESPN’s Marty Smith on Thursday. His response to Smith was humorous because of the way he played coy.

Harbaugh gave every answer without giving an actual answer to Smith regarding Hill’s status.

“Questionable. Not ruled out. A game-time decision,” Harbaugh said of Hill.

Harbaugh was asked whether Hill was even in Miami for the Orange Bowl game.

“He might be,” the Michigan coach responded.

The nature of Hill’s absence has not been revealed. The defensive back’s brother, NFL running back Justice Hill, was placed on the COVID list by the Baltimore Ravens. That led to some speculation about whether Daxton was similarly placed into COVID protocol. But the Wolverines have not clarified the matter.

Michigan is set to face Georgia at 7:30 pm ET on Friday. The winner of their game meets the victor of the Alabama-Cincinnati game in the championship game.

Photo: Aug 31, 2019; Ann Arbor, MI, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh before the game against the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders at Michigan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tim Fuller-USA TODAY Sports

Jim Harbaugh wears interesting T-shirt ahead of Michigan playoff game

Jim Harbaugh shirt

Jim Harbaugh was seen wearing a very interesting T-shirt ahead of Michigan’s College Football Playoff game against the Georgia Bulldogs.

Michigan’s offensive line won the Joe Moore Award this year, which is handed out to the best offensive line unit in the country.

As the team was given the award, Harbaugh was seen wearing a T-shirt that said “Run The Damn Ball.”

The shirt is written in Michigan’s block yellow letters, all in caps (it’s made by the site Blue By Ninety). There is no confusing the powerful message.

Michigan’s offensive linemen all wore the shirt on Wednesday:

Was Harbaugh wearing that shirt intentionally because it was a nod to his linemen? Or is it because the shirt is a reflection of the Jim Harbaugh winning philosophy? The philosophy worked against Ohio State this year. Maybe Michigan will follow the words in their game against Georgia. Or maybe they’ll fool Georgia and go pass-heavy.

Harbaugh’s already playing mental games with Kirby Smart.

Jim Harbaugh has bold prediction for Aidan Hutchinson

Aidan Hutchinson in gear

Jim Harbaugh offered a bold prediction on Saturday night regarding Aidan Hutchinson.

Harbaugh was in New York City to accompany Hutchinson for the Heisman Trophy ceremony. Hutchinson had his moment in the spotlight when he and his family were interviewed by ESPN. That was followed by an interview between Marty Smith and Harbaugh, who is Hutchinson’s head coach at Michigan.

Harbaugh was complimentary of Hutchinson, outlining all the things the defensive lineman did for the team.

“He took our team on his back, along with Hassan Haskins. Broke his dad’s record,” Harbaugh said.

Then Harbaugh 1-upped everyone.

“And I think he’s going to be the No. 1 pick in the draft.”

And there it is.

The last time Harbaugh made a statement like that, it came true. He said he thought Hutchinson deserved to be in the Heisman Trophy conversation, and Hutchinson ended up in New York. Maybe next up will be the No. 1 pick, just like Harbaugh said.

Photo: Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97) warms up before the game against the Michigan State Spartans, Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021.

John Harbaugh sends message to critics of brother Jim

John Harbaugh

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was named the AP Coach of the Year on Friday, and his brother was among those taking a victory lap.

John Harbaugh spoke a bit about his brother during his press conference on Friday. The Baltimore Ravens coach offered his reaction to Jim’s award, then concluded by sending a message to his brother’s critics.

“He’s always been a great coach,” John Harbaugh said of Jim. “And all those that want to pile on, especially some of the local media there, there you have it. Back in your face. That’s how I look at it. He’d never say that, but I’ll say it.”

John Harbaugh has been sitting on that message for a while. After all, Jim entered the year amid speculation about his job status. He faced questions about whether he could even win at Michigan. Things were so rough at the end of 2020 that Michigan’s biggest rival was openly celebrating Harbaugh’s contract extension.

Little more than one year later, Harbaugh is the coach of the year. He made a lot of people look bad as he took his team to the College Football Playoff. John is clearly getting a kick out of that.