Is Jim Harbaugh trying to get back to the NFL?

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At every stop on his coaching tour, Jim Harbaugh has stayed exactly four years. And as he ends his fourth year at Michigan, the question becomes whether the time has come for Harbaugh to move on, and to move out.

Via USA Today, Cris Carter suggested on his FS1 show that Harbaugh could be looking to get back to the NFL, and that the NFL could be looking to get Harbaugh back to it.

“Watch out for Jim Harbaugh because Jim Harbaugh, potentially, is trying to get his way out of Michigan, all right?” Carter said. “I’ve got good sources that are telling me not only Green Bay but also watch out for the Cleveland Browns. He likes the quarterback situations there, and, I believe, that there is front office people in Green Bay who are enamored with Jim Harbaugh and potentially trying to get him to come to Green Bay.”

For starters, Carter played college football at Ohio State, and it’s clear from his Twitter feed that he still is tied to the program, making him the sworn enemy of the “team up north.” What better way to make it harder for Michigan to recruit and easier for Ohio State to recruit (and it’s all happening now) than to suggest that Michigan’s head coach already may have one foot out the door?

Of course, this doesn’t mean that Harbaugh isn’t thinking about leaving, or that teams like the Packers and/or Browns aren’t thinking about taking a run at Harbaugh. Maybe Harbaugh is looking at both jobs, and maybe both jobs are looking at him.

It would be a bit of a surprise if the Packers or the Browns want Harbaugh. He has a well-earned reputation for being difficult to work with, as evidenced by his persistent clashes with former 49ers G.M. Trent Baalke. Thus, there should be a concern for both Packers G.M. Brian Gutekunst and Browns G.M. John Dorsey that, at the first sign of success, Harbaugh will try to parlay that into more power, influence, and control.

Then there’s the reality, as MDS recently pointed out, that the innovations of modern football seem to have been lost on Harbaugh. That won’t fly in Green Bay, where the absence of innovation fueled Mike McCarthy’s termination.

The Browns are a more viable option, primarily because the Browns nearly traded for Harbaugh in early 2014 — and because it’s believed that the coaching search, while ostensibly run by Dorsey, ultimately will be controlled by owner Jimmy Haslam. If Haslam wants to finish the job that he started five years ago, he’ll be able to try.

Still, multiple league sources have expressed in recent days skepticism about Jim Harbaugh making a return to the NFL, with one exception. Earlier today, one source predicted that, if/when Harbaugh comes back to the NFL, he’ll coach the first NFL team that seriously pursued him — the Dolphins, who are owned by Michigan alum and benefactor Stephen Ross.

That job isn’t open, and may not be for a while. Which could keep Harbaugh at Michigan for more than four years, and maybe more than five.

70 responses to “Is Jim Harbaugh trying to get back to the NFL?

  1. There is no way he will coach in the same division as his brother. And with the Ravens back from the dead, my prediction is John Harbaugh keeps his job for another year.

  2. I’m a Packers fan and even though I think Jim Harbaugh is an arrogant s.o.b. and even a little wacky, he’s a good coach who has already proven himself in the NFL. Having him replace Mike McCarthy is a big upgrade.

  3. Harbaugh is building a powerhouse up north. 27 4/5 star recruits entering their RS Soph and Junior years with 11 4/5 star recruits already committed to their 2019 class..

    I don’t know why Harbaugh would leave TTUN. But its a good time. He can go to a team like Cleveland, and his Brother can take over TTUN’s program.

  4. Yeah, because I believe anything that comes out of Chris Carter’s mouth. Absolutely 0% chance but hey, he needs better rating so why not stir the pot.

  5. Five first round picks for Rogers. I doubt if one is offered. Every time Rogers is sacked or knocked down I wonder if he is getting up. With his age his body is usually damaged now every time he gets hit. He would require the Steeler O line to keep him in one piece. Not too many of those around.

  6. He was off the Niners and out of the NFL like two years before Kaepernick. How will he ever overcome that level of collusion?

  7. I think any HC would be crazy to leave a college program. Look how disappointing Harbarugh’s UM tenure has been, and they seem happy to bring him back next year — this without ever beating OSU? Crazy.

  8. Browns are a much better fit. Young QB and team overall, more likely to listen to him and adapt to his coaching philosophy than Green Bay and a veteran, SB winner qb with an attitude.

    That said, I don’t see him leavimg this year. Not when Meyer just retired.

  9. Harbaughs been a “miserable failure” at Michigan? I’m pretty critical of the guy but come on seriously? Did we forget about Rich Rod losing to a MAC team?

  10. nyneal says:
    December 5, 2018 at 4:23 pm
    I’m a Packers fan and even though I think Jim Harbaugh is an arrogant s.o.b. and even a little wacky, he’s a good coach who has already proven himself in the NFL. Having him replace Mike McCarthy is a big upgrade.


    Zero chance Rodgers and Harbaugh could work together in my opinion. I think he is better suited with a young QB.

  11. eltigredelnorte says:
    December 5, 2018 at 4:20 pm
    There is no way he will coach in the same division as his brother. And with the Ravens back from the dead, my prediction is John Harbaugh keeps his job for another year.
    Are you kidding? As competitive as that family is. No way he wouldn’t want revenge for the Super Bowl loss. Now I don’t think he wants the Browns’ job either. But his brother being coach of the Ravens has nothing to do with it.

  12. He has a five year contract with the Wolverines, paying him 5 million a year. He may return to the NFL if he does not sign an extension or if someone offers him a job. Green Bay does not have a head coach and neither does Cleveland. Other teams are looking for a head coach too. I think he may stay one more year in Michigan since he came so close to playing for a National Championship, now that his nemesis in Ohio State is stepping down.

  13. curmudgeon13 says:

    Simple. Green Bay. Sign Kaepernick. Trade Rodgers for five first round picks……

    Kaepernick is blacklisted. Just ask him. But don’t mention the Broncos or Ravens, that would kill the narrative which is why the media never mentions it.

  14. Don’t count Indy out for a 1 and done with Reich after the eggs they have laid this year, I wouldn’t put it past Irsay to want to bring back his old QB. As a colts fan I hope it doesn’t happen, but I wouldn’t put it past Irsay.

  15. Being a Michigan fan, I don’t know if Harbaugh’s offensive philosophy is going to make it in the NFL. With the league moving heavily towards pass first, his run heavy looks may not work. It’s certainly not doing the job at the college level. The games against ND and OSU were very telling of that.

  16. He’s making more at Michigan than he’d be paid in the NFL so he’d most likely serve out this contract OR wait until Michigan offered him a buyout if things didn’t go well. Also, with Urban Meyer retiring Michigan looks to be the best poised to take advantage of any falloff Ohio State might experience. Urban owned Harbaugh head-to-head but no promises the new guy at Ohio State would have the same luck.

  17. Don’t believe Harbaugh is leaving Michigan, but you can bet your bottom dollar the Browns aren’t interested.

  18. Hasn’t it been accepted that the arguments with Baalke were more on Baalke? Where else has Harbaugh had issues with management?

  19. whywerule says:
    December 5, 2018 at 4:47 pm
    Are there fans who want to have Harbaugh coaching their team?

    Bueller? Bueller?
    Crickets? Crickets?

    Only if they were tired of rooting for a losing team.

  20. Anybody who thinks he is a bust at Michigan is a idiot. He clearly turned the team completely around in a short time frame. If the standard is winning the national championship then 99.9% of the coaches are busts. Look at the 49ers since he left and you can see why teams would want to hire him.

  21. He’s not a bust at Michigan. He elevated that team but they can’t beat Ohio.

    I saw what he did with the 49ers, and it was impressive. I just think that they should have given the ball to Gore and they’d have another Superbowl trophy.

    Any NFL team looking for a new head coach would be lucky to have him, if he’s a good fit is a different question.

  22. There is no way that John Dorsey wants to work with this nut job. The problem is, Jimmy Haslam has a history of overruling his GMs. Dorsey is the best thing to happen to the Browns in years. Don’t screw this up Haslam.

  23. There is no way that John Dorsey wants to work with this nut job. The problem is, Jimmy Haslam has a history of overruling his GMs. Dorsey is the best thing to happen to the Browns in years. Don’t screw this up Haslam.

  24. Peculiar timing. I was just reading today where Ohio State lost two prized recruits because their coach is retiring. Now Chris Carter, an Ohio State alum, is doing his duty to try to hurt Michigan’s recruiting. Don’t take it seriously. I’ve read more truthful stuff standing in the checkout line at the grocery store. Michigan was a total train wreck when Harbaugh got there, now they’re a top team. And they haven’t had a good QB. I’d like to see Michigan recruit a top QB. That would probably put Michigan above everyone else, including Alabama.

  25. I’ll accept any coach that “plays to win.” I’ve had quite enough of “playing not to lose,” thank you very much.

  26. therealraider says:
    December 5, 2018 at 4:26 pm
    Harbaugh is home at Michigan. He’ll coach there until they don’t let him anymore.
    Or until the right NFL team, with the right offer comes by.

    The days of coaches coaching at a university for 15-20 plus years is fading fast.

  27. My sources are telling me he “might” be listening to offers or he “might not” be listening to offers, that clear any confusion up.

  28. kamthechancellor says:
    December 5, 2018 at 5:54 pm

    Ummm…why again does anyone want this guy as their coach? He hasn’t won anything at any level.

    The guy has been a winner wherever he has coached. Maybe not championships, but he is definitely a winning coach.

  29. frodoftw7 said it well. he’s a good coach that will elevate a team. if that’s a good fit is another matter.

    he doesn’t seem like an organizational builder, just a good component that gets plugged in.
    he inherited a 49rs team that was already built to win and did well. he took over at michigan and performed better than his predecessor but struggled to match recruiting with ohio. neither green bay or cleveland are really situations that he could step into and win right out of the gate in my opinion.

  30. Green Bay fans would hate Jim Harbaugh. I could never imagine them bringing in a coach like that, either. The Packers really have no need for a flashy coaching hire.

    They will bring in another coach that won’t look to make waves, and they’ll plan on having him around for a while. Philbin will have a shot depending on how they finish the year, but I doubt he’ll end up being the choice.

  31. I just want him out of Mich. I dont care if he opens a donut shop or something just out of Mich.
    If the pack want him then they are brain dead. This is the worst coach you want. He is also two runs and a pass mentality like Mike M. He will never work out with Rodgers

  32. Miami is the destination. Look for Gase to be fired afer a bad loss, likely against NE. This opens the door for Jim and he will resign from Michigan.

  33. I think the logical solution is the Browns. You know there is zero chance of a conflict there and Harbaugh requests more power because you know it’s the Browns.

  34. I dunno, everytime some player gets cut or some retread coach pops up out of the flower pot, everyone is like Cleveland. So far those guys have moved light years beyond what they were the past two seasons. Dorsey has parlayed Sashi Brown’s pick into players and he jettisoned the two stains on the season. I just don’t see him grabbing Harbaugh or McCarthy and don’t tell me something about QB development because Mayfield seems to be progressing just fine.

  35. I highly doubt Carter has any angle regarding OSU considering way he exited from that university and furthermore Harbaugh and A A Ron oh that would be fun….get out the popcorn!

  36. Im sorry,I off subject,Imo Harbaugh isnt going anywhere at this time,but again jusst my opinion

  37. Jets job is behind the Packers and Browns job. Green Bay=Proven QB. No owner meddling. Cleveland=Much better talent base than the Jets and a GM who knows talent. Not NY media market and better football city. BTW: Grefg Williams has to be considered a top candidate there as well. He has HC experience. Knows how to out a defense together. The Browns could do (and have done) far, far worse.
    If the Jets fire Maccagnan and give Harbaugh the Andy Reid model where he can hire his personnel people (and GM) then they might have a shot at landing him. Jamal Adams quote about “..other issues in the building..” is a clear shot at Maccagnan from which he probably heard through the defensive coaches or Todd Bowles himself (and not without merit). Harbaugh or not, the Jets need to move on from Maccagnan too.

  38. If I were a betting man I’d be putting money on him going to Miami. Ross is a big Mich. donor and would certainly be willing to buy out his contract, build a new library or do whatever was needed to get him to lead the Phins.
    We could certainly use a legitimate NFL caliber head coach who could put together a quality staff.

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