Jim Harbaugh is definitely still in Michigan’s good graces, if his comments on Wednesday are any indication.
The Wolverines head coach said he was close to a contract extension with the school before the COVID-19 pandemic put the discussions on the backburner.
“There’s bigger fish to fry for our athletic director, or our administration, me as a coach,” Harbaugh told reporters during a Zoom interview, via Larry Lage of the Associated Press. “It hasn’t been on the top of the priority list. I would expect something, that there would be an announcement at some time.
“It was kind of right there last February, where it was being discussed, and then the pandemic hit.”
There have been numerous rumors that Harbaugh is looking at an NFL return in light of his perceived underachievement at Michigan. Harbaugh has shot those down before in no uncertain terms. Assuming he’s telling the truth here, that’s still the case.
Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has previously said that he would like Harbaugh to retire at Michigan. For all the rumors and speculation about the coach’s future, it seems the school is happy to stand by that.
- Jim Harbaugh
Pete Carroll and Jim Harbaugh have a fierce rivalry that dates back to their days coaching in the same college conference, but apparently Carroll was able to put that aside when the Seattle Seahawks coach was interested in signing Colin Kaepernick a few years back.
Carroll said Thursday that the only person he called to inquire about Kaepernick prior to the Seahawks bringing the quarterback in for a visit in 2017 was Harbaugh. Harbaugh, of course, was the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers when the team drafted Kaepernick in the second round back in 2011.
“The only guy I ever talked to about it — other than just for our own internal information — I called Jim Harbaugh way back when because I respected what he would tell me,” Carroll revealed, via Marcus White of NBC Sports Bay Area. “That’s the only guy I ever talked to about it.”
Harbaugh went 2-1 as a head coach at Stanford against Carroll’s powerhouse USC team, and the desire to beat Carroll again at the NFL level was said to be one of the things Harbaugh was most excited about when he took the 49ers job. Harbaugh insisted there was no hostility between the two at the time, but no one really believed it.
Despite all that, Carroll said this week that Harbaugh’s opinion on Kaepernick held a lot of weight.
“That was before we ever visited [Kaepernick], and [Harbaugh] glowingly supported Kap and all that,” Carroll said. “That’s why we were so positive as well. He gave us reinforcement.”
Remember, this is the same Harbaugh who essentially called out Carroll’s Seahawks for cheating at one point. Any phone conversation between the two is significant, especially if the point of that conversation is to have a friendly discussion about a player.
Carroll has always had high praise for Kaepernick, and he recently said he believes one NFL team is interested in signing the free agent.
Michigan landed four-star linebacker recruit Jaydon Hood on Monday, and the announcement came with some serious flair.
Hood announced his commitment via video on his Twitter. It starts off as a rather standard video with highlights from Hood’s high school career, then a few Michigan highlights. Then it abruptly ends with Wolverine linebackers coach Brian Luc Jean-Mary, defensive coordinator Don Brown, and coach Jim Harbaugh doing cartwheels in their respective yards.
Committed 100%… Go Blue @UMichFootball @JayHarbaugh @luc_brian @FBCoachDBrown @247Wolverine @MichOpinion @espn @247Sports @CoachHarriott @TwanRussell @FeetHipsHands @TheCribSouthFLA @EraPrep @Iam_SheaHood @HoodShandon @Shepp42 pic.twitter.com/ycVhFYgd9v
— Jaydon hood (@JaydonHood_7) May 25, 2020
Harbaugh’s form isn’t perfect, but the effort is appreciated. And it makes for a memorable recruiting video, if nothing else.
We’ve seen that the Michigan coach is willing to go to great lengths to land recruits. Doing a cartwheel for a commitment video was probably an easy request for him to accept.
Chase Young is in the NFL now, but the old college rivalries never truly end.
The former Ohio State defensive lineman had a pretty savage reply to Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who said “nothing” makes the Wolverines angrier than losing to the Buckeyes.
— CY2 (@youngchase907) May 20, 2020
Why is Young laughing? Probably in part because he never lost to Michigan. Other Ohio State players can make that claim as well, as the Buckeyes have only lost to the Wolverines twice since 2000.
Ohio State players are more than happy to remind Michigan of that record. Even former coach Urban Meyer can’t help but rub a bit of salt in the wound. Things like this are going to continue unless the Wolverines can start to turn their fortunes against the Buckeyes around.
Current NFL rules require players to be at least three years removed from high school before they are eligible to play in the league, and Jim Harbaugh is calling for that to change.
In an open letter he wrote to the “College Football Community” on Thursday, Harbaugh outlined a detailed proposal that would give student-athletes more flexibility to determine when is the best time for them to pursue a professional career. The changes would give college players the right to decide when they want to test the NFL Draft waters. If the player were to go undrafted, Harbaugh believes he should have the option of being able to return to school.
“There are ‘early bloomers’ capable of competing in the NFL and earning a livelihood at an earlier age,” Harbaugh wrote in the letter. “The goal would be to create a scenario that makes adjustments for all current and future student‐athletes that puts the timeline for transition to professional football at their discretion and that of their family. I propose an option that allows them to make the decision that is best for them.”
You can read the full letter below:
Jim Harbaugh wants to overhaul the rules of college eligibility of when is the right time to turn pro and enter the draft, as this letter shows. Baseball and hockey already have changed, and basketball is about to change, and Harbaugh wants to empower the student-athlete. pic.twitter.com/lQLb10H8SR
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 7, 2020
Under Harbaugh’s plan, a player who is selected in the NFL Draft or signs with a team as a free agent would become ineligible to return to school. The Michigan coach is also calling for college athletes to be permitted to consult with agents before giving up their NCAA eligibility as long as they don’t receive any compensation.
Todd Berry, the executive director of the American Football Coaches Association, told ESPN’s Dan Murphy that roughly half of college coaches support the idea of allowing players to turn pro whenever they want. Many support the idea as an alternative to the recent plan that would permit college athletes to make money from their name, image and likeness while in school. A Michigan spokesman told Murphy that Harbaugh’s open letter was not intended to be a response to that development.
Harbaugh also proposes that schools continue to help players pursue a college degree even if they turn pro. He would like to see schools cover the costs of a player’s education depending upon how long they were enrolled in college. If a player attended college for a year, Harbaugh’s plan states that the school would cover the cost of one additional year of education if the player wanted to continue pursuing a college degree after his professional playing career ended.
There were other changes proposed by Harbaugh, including giving college players five years of eligibility even without a redshirt year.
Much like his proposal to revamp the College Football Playoff system, Harbaugh’s arguments seem well-thought-out. However, with the NCAA moving toward allowing players to make money while in school, it seems highly unlikely that they would also be in favor of changing NFL eligibility requirements at this time.
- Jim Harbaugh
Jim Harbaugh is a major backer of Tom Brady.
Harbaugh spoke with National Review’s Jay Nordlinger Friday for an interview that’s gained attention due to Harbaugh sharing his view on abortion. Also in the conversation, the two old friends talked about sports, as expected. One topic had to do with Brady, who played quarterback at Michigan in college, which is where Harbaugh also played and is now the head coach.
Harbaugh heaped praised upon Brady, saying the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback has separated himself in the conversation for greatest player of all time (GOAT).
“No doubt about that – he’s the greatest of all time in football. And I think he’s pretty much lapped the field in my opinion,” Harbaugh told Nordlinger.
Brady wasn’t as highly-regarded in college as he became in the NFL and even split time with Drew Henson. But Harbaugh believes Brady, who went 20-5 as a starter and won two bowl games, was a winner back in college.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people who knew him when he was here and they won,” Harbaugh said. “They won games when he started. He was in a quarterback competition, I think it was Drew Henson was a phenom quarterback who came in as a freshman and Tom was an upperclassman. They were splitting time. But Tom won big games and was drafted in the sixth-round, was very famously a late-round pick, but became the greatest of all time.”
If Brady were more highly regarded, he would have gone much higher in the NFL Draft than No. 199 overall in the sixth round. But it didn’t take long after he took over for Drew Bledsoe to prove how good he is. Now 20 years later, he’s won more Super Bowls than any player in history (six) and is attempting to show that even at 43 in August, he can still play at a high level. And Harbaugh knows from experience how good Brady is.
Nick Saban and Jim Harbaugh don’t seem to get along very well, and the events that transpired late in the Citrus Bowl on Wednesday serve as further evidence of that.
Leading by 12 with 6:04 left in the fourth quarter, the Alabama Crimson Tide embarked on a nearly six-minute drive that crushed Michigan’s chances of mounting a late comeback. The real talking point came on the final play of said drive. Alabama could have easily taken a knee on 3rd and goal at the Michigan 2, and not had to run another play. Saban and the Tide, however, opted to run up the score, handing the ball to running back Najee Harris for a two-yard touchdown.
That was eye-opening enough, but Michigan added to the intrigue on their brief ensuing drive. The already-beaten Wolverines opted to spike the ball with two seconds left to set up a Hail Mary try from the Alabama 41, even though it would have had no bearing on the outcome. The attempt was intercepted by Alabama in the end zone.
In other words, in a game that was already over, both teams kept trying to hurt the other. One might chalk that up to attitude and two programs with elite ambitions, but it would also be easy to point to some enmity between the two coaches.
While both were very cordial speaking before and after the game, some words were exchanged back in 2016, when Harbaugh was establishing satellite camps in SEC country. Saban raised concerns about that practice, which led to Harbaugh publicly going after the Alabama program. Saban tried to downplay any tension between the two, but the fact is he probably hasn’t forgotten that response. It may well have been in the back of Saban’s mind on Wednesday when he had the chance to make a point to Harbaugh on the field for the first time head-to-head.