One of the most talked about coaching candidates for the Bears this hiring cycle has been Jim Harbaugh. The Wolverines head coach has been a buzzy name after he led Michigan to their first Big Ten title in his seven-year tenure, and their first win over Ohio State since 2011. But since Harbaugh is a college coach, NFL organizations don’t need to request permission to interview him, and any talks might not get leaked.
But a new report from Hub Arkush on NBC Sports Chicago’s “The Rush,” indicated that the Bears have touched base with Harbaugh.
“I've had some contact with Jim,” Arkush said on The Rush. “I didn't ask him and he didn't tell me. But one other source who is usually pretty good told me that there was just a brief phone conversation.
“I’m not going to say it's between Jim and somebody in the organization, which I think may have just been trying to say, ‘Hi,’ may have been trying to read the tea leaves without asking the questions. I don't know. I can't confirm that for certain, but it's a pretty good source. I think that there was a phone call and I think where that phone call ended is Jim's got decisions to make and again, he just hasn't made them.”
This supports a report from the Athletic which said essentially the same thing, but from the university’s perspective.
Many have wondered whether Harbaugh is truly considering leaving the Wolverines, or if he’s simply using the hype of this hiring cycle to secure a lucrative contract extension from Michigan. There have certainly been indications that Harbaugh would remain in the college game too. He recently hired Notre Dame defensive line coach Mike Elston to join his Wolverines staff. He’s also been spotted out on the recruiting trail as recently as Monday. The thinking is, Harbaugh wouldn’t ask a coach to uproot his family and his life, or visit with incoming NCAA athletes, if Harbaugh was seriously considering a move to the NFL.
Harbaugh has led the Wolverines since 2015 and has a 61-24 record over his seven seasons with the team. He’s also gone 1-5 in bowl games.