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He is “watching and waiting to see whether a team with a reasonable ownership and General Manager situation is interested in giving him an opportunity,” per Florio.
“Some think Jim Harbaugh is simply trying to leverage Michigan into paying him more,” Florio wrote. “Per the source, that’s not what it’s about (which will obviously make some say, ‘Of course that’s what it’s about’). It’s about unfinished business from nearly a decade ago, when Harbaugh took a 6-10 team and turned it around almost immediately, without the benefit of an offseason program in his first year, thanks to the lockout.”
However, Florio mentions that several teams with head coaching vacancies probably won’t consider Harbaugh for various reasons, those teams include the Jacksonville Jaguars, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans.
The NFL insider goes on to say that the Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings and New York Giants could be potential destinations in the current hiring cycle.
Harbaugh spent four years as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-14, compiling a 44-19-1 record. He led the team to three consecutive playoff appearances, including a trip to Super Bowl XLVII during the 2012 season, before going 8-8 and missing the postseason in 2014.
Harbaugh and the 49ers lost 34-31 to his brother, John Harbaugh, and the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. If he makes an NFL return, whichever team Harbaugh coaches likely won’t reach the Super Bowl for at least a few years.
The Jaguars had the worst record in the NFL this season; they also recorded their fourth straight losing campaign. The Bears are coming off a 2021 losing season and haven’t made it past the Wild Card Round since 2010. The Texans have an 8-25 record over the past two seasons. The Vikings have two straight losing seasons while the Broncos and Giants haven’t had winning campaigns since 2016.
Out of the teams with head coaching vacancies, the Dolphins are arguably the most Super Bowl-ready, and that could be considered a stretch when comparing them to AFC teams like the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.
Harbaugh is a hot candidate in this year’s hiring cycle after leading Michigan to a 12-2 record and College Football Playoff appearance. Michigan’s one losing season under Harbaugh was during the 2020 pandemic-shortened campaign.
Harbaugh also recently addressed the rumors about his interest in returning to the NFL while speaking with reporters ahead of the Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award ceremony on Wednesday.
Jason Bristol @JBristolKHOU
Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, in <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/Houston?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#Houston</a> for <a href=”https://twitter.com/bryantawards?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@bryantawards</a> Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant Award <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/BryantAwards?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#BryantAwards</a>, on the NFL coaching rumor mill: <br><br>”It’s a little more enjoyable this year compared to the rumors last year, so…”<br><br>via <a href=”https://twitter.com/OpportuneLLP?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@OpportuneLLP</a> <a href=”https://twitter.com/American_Heart?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@American_Heart</a> press junket. <a href=”https://t.co/7UBNleK9Bv”>pic.twitter.com/7UBNleK9Bv</a>
Other hot head coaching candidates include former Miami Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, New England Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels and Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett, among others.