Report: Jim Harbaugh exploring potential NFL return
Year five of the Jim Harbaugh era at Michigan is set to see them once again miss the College Football Playoff and fail to even make the Big Ten Championship, and according to one report, the coach is exploring ways out.
According to Zach Barnett of Football Scoop, Harbaugh’s representatives are reaching out to NFL teams to gauge interest in a return to the pros. It is expected he would find significant interest, given his 44-19 record with the San Francisco 49ers.
Harbaugh has turned Michigan into a highly-ranked program again, but has been unable to find the breakthrough into the conference title game and beyond. It’s put both him and the school in a situation where he has been too successful to get rid of, especially coupled with his status as a favorite son, but still hasn’t done what he was brought to Ann Arbor to do. A departure for the NFL would free both sides up to move on amicably.
Harbaugh’s contract runs through the end of the 2021 season. He’s 43-16 as Michigan’s head coach, a significant improvement on predecessors Rich Rodriguez and Brady Hoke but still in the wake of Ohio State. He also has a mediocre record against other top programs, as he’s failed to beat the Buckeyes during his tenure and will not be favored to this year, either.
In recent weeks, we’ve seen Harbaugh lose another big game on the road and make some strange decisions in the process. That is illustrative of why everyone may be fine with it if his tenure ends after 2019 by mutual agreement.