Jim Harbaugh is being proactive in addressing the rumors this year: No, he isn’t leaving Michigan to return to the NFL, he says.
"I can't be any more clear about this -- it's not true," the former 49ers coach told ESPN’s Adam Schefter this weekend. "I'm not going anywhere."
Harbaugh’s success in San Francisco -- a 44-19-1 record and a Super Bowl berth in four seasons (2011-14) -- leads some to speculate each year that an NFL return could be in the cards. Harbaugh hinted that chatter could be planted by others to hurt him in recruiting players to Michigan, where he's 38-13 in four seasons as coach.
"This is a choreographed message that comes up at this time every year before signing day," Harbaugh said. "It's people spreading messages to further their own personal agenda.”
Harbaugh played quarterback at Michigan in the mid-1980s. Schefter, the reporter, also is a Michigan alum.
FL teams that need an offensive-minded coach who can develop a young QB surely will inquire about Harbaugh’s availability, though. For example, should the Arizona Cardinals, who’ve struggled to a 3-9 record, decide one season with coach Steve Wilks is enough, they certainly could consider Harbaugh and the impact he’d have on rookie QB Josh Rosen.
That would mean seeing Harbaugh and his signature pleated khakis on the Levi’s Stadium sideline once per season. Not sure how 49ers fans would feel about that.