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Harbaugh watch begins in Ann Arbor


With 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh having two years left on his contract and with the coach and the team shelving until 2015 negotiations that have gone nowhere, other teams that could eventually be looking for coaches could begin looking to Harbaugh.

After his alma mater absorbed a 31-0 defeat in the last scheduled game of the Notre Dame rivalry, it could be time for Michigan fans to start thinking about bringing Harbaugh back home.

USC and Texas reportedly had interest in Harbaugh last year, who had no interest at the time in leaving the 49ers. Harbaugh may feel differently after the coming campaign, especially if Michigan offers Harbaugh high-end money and the kind of autonomy that NFL coaches rarely enjoy.

It’s unknown whether Harbaugh wants to leave San Francisco or to return to Michigan. But with no new contract in place and no plan to try to work one out until after the season, Michigan could opt to chase Harbaugh, who could opt to move on before the time even comes to try to work out a new contract with the 49ers.

The 49ers’ position on Harbaugh has been that, if he wants to take a college job, they won’t stop him. That reality could start the rumors linking Harbaugh to Ann Arbor, sooner than later.