Report: Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh Plans to ‘Entertain’ NFL Coaching Options
As rumors swirl around the idea of whether Jim Harbaugh will take a leap into the NFL coaching ranks, the Wolverines football coach did not hide the possibility of that outcome with a recent Michigan commit.
Darrius Clemons, a four-star wide receive from Portland, Oregon, committed to the Wolverines on Dec. 10. However, the talented receiver—who chose Michigan over Auburn, Oregon, Penn State and USC—made his decision based on the school and not a coach.
Larry Clemons, Darrius's father, told 247Sports that Harbaugh would be engaging with the idea of NFL coaching.
“He said that he'll entertain (it),” Clemons said. “He was up front with us about that. I had Coach Harbaugh speak to my pastor. They had a good conversation. Our pastor asked him about that, and that's just that's the (reply) that he gave him.
“I have no choice but to respect a coach if he's up front with us like that,” Mr. Clemons said. “So, I respect him for that ... By him saying stuff like that I was like, ‘we can't pick a school because of a coach.’ We learned that from the Oregon (coaching change).”
Harbaugh, who was on the hot seat and took a pay cut from Michigan a year ago, recently led the Wolverines to a Big Ten championship game and an appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinal game against Georgia. He went from the Big Ten's top salary spot to eighth in the league with his new contract in the 2021 season.
According to Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer, Harbaugh's name is "firmly on the NFL radar.” Prior to Breer, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic heard from league and Michigan sources earlier this week that Harbaugh could be tempted to make a return to the NFL. Harbaugh was also closely linked as a potential coach for the Raiders.
Breer also reported that there is a possibility that Harbaugh could be looking to “leverage more money out of Michigan,” after taking the reduction in pay.
Harbaugh had a highly successful run with the 49ers from 2011 to ’14, going 44-19-1 with a Super Bowl appearance and three straight trips to the NFC championship. Both Breer and Feldman discussed Harbaugh’s relationship with Raiders owner Mark Davis as a potential factor in the decision. Harbaugh's first coaching job was as Raiders quarterbacks coach in '02–03, after which he became head coach at the University of San Diego. The Bears are also named as a potential landing spot.
While Harbaugh remains as Michigan's coach, only time will tell whether he will take his talents back to the NFL level or continue to build on a Wolverines’ program that will be looking to reach new strides in the 2022 season.