There are NFL rumors popping up about Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh after his program’s brutal home loss to Michigan State last weekend.
Harbaugh’s tenure at his alma mater has left plenty wanting more. His seat is getting warmer, but it might be hard for Michigan to actually fire him.
However, there are at least whispers that Harbaugh is considering a return to the NFL, where he led the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14.
“Buzz is filtering through NFL front offices that Harbaugh is open to return to the league,” Yahoo’s Pete Thamel wrote on Thursday. “And that brings into focus the fascinating question of whether an NFL franchise would be tempted by the duality of Harbaugh’s NFL tenure – a track record of winning that came with significant headaches.”
There's a Super Bowl coach with a better NFL win percentage than Bill Belichick. He's expected to be amendable to a return to the NFL. What's the NFL's interest in him? The Jim Harbaugh conundrum. https://t.co/mXQbLrwY4e
— Pete Thamel (@PeteThamel) November 5, 2020
Will Jim Harbaugh bolt for the pros? It remains to be seen, but if he has legit interest in an NFL reboot, there will be several teams at least intrigued about the possibility of hiring him.
Right now, three teams in particular stand out in our minds: the New York Jets, Atlanta Falcons and Houston Texans.
The Falcons and Texans have already fired their head coaches, while Adam Gase is basically a dead man walking in New York. Assuming the Jets hang on to the No. 1 overall pick, they’ll likely wind up with the prize of drafting Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence.
Harbaugh has taken heat for the middling quarterback play under his watch at Michigan, but don’t forget he helped develop Andrew Luck at Stanford before resurrecting Alex Smith’s career and maximizing Colin Kaepernick’s abilities with the 49ers.
That part of Harbaugh’s resume could carry a lot of weight for a team like New York, which could have a new quarterback, or Houston, which already has a young star (Deshaun Watson) in place. Outside of quarterback tutelage, Harbaugh’s reputation as a program builder and disciplinarian might be attractive for a rebuilding franchise.
There will be more openings than just three teams when all is said and done. But for now, all three seem like logical fits for Harbaugh if he wants back in at the NFL level.