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Are Jim Harbaugh’s latest comments a veiled ‘come get me’ message to NFL teams?

Expect to see more on the Michigan coach’s future in the coming days as the end of the NFL regular season is likely to bring with it several coaching vacancies.

Are Jim Harbaugh’s latest comments a veiled ‘come get me’ message to NFL teams?

If it seems like there’s been a new story related to the Wolverines coach each day, that’s probably because there has. With rumors swirling about his possible return to the NFL, the man himself has finally spoken up about the speculation.

Jim Harbaugh ‘expects’ to stay in Michigan

According to his statement on Thursday, Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh expects to return to the Wolverines in 2023. Though Harbaugh didn’t outrightly commit his future to the Ann Arbor based team, his statement comes in direct response to the intense speculation about whether or not he would take an offer from an NFL team. Indeed, the coach has been at the center of several reports linking him with multiple teams including the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers. Just this past week in fact, Harbaugh reportedly met with Panthers owner David Tepper.

“I am aware of the rumors and speculation over the past few days,” said Harbaugh. “College and NFL teams have had great interest in all our personnel, from players to coaches to staff, and I truly believe that is a testament to the strength of our University of Michigan football program. As I stated in December, while no one knows that the future holds, I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023. I have spoken with president Santa Ono and athletic director Warde Manuel and appreciate their support of me and our program. Our mission as Wolverines continues, and we are preparing for the 2023 season with great passion and enthusiasm. As our legendary coach Bo Schembechler said...those who stay will be champions.”

Is Jim Harbaugh playing the game?

As we mentioned above, Harbaugh spoke with Panthers owner David Tepper just days ago and it’s said the conversation was about the team’s vacant coach position. Now, while the chat was not characterized by reports as a formal interview, the optics of the situation do raise questions, which weren’t helped by Harbaugh’s somewhat leading statement: “Although no one knows the future, I think I will be coaching Michigan next year.” Where the Broncos are concerned, it was a NFL report which suggested that the team was “doing homework” on Harbaugh with a mind to filling their vacant coaching position.

Ultimately, Harbaugh signed a five-year contract extension with Michigan back in February and at the time indicated that he wouldn’t have yearly conversations with NFL teams. That comment was clearly in direct response to his open flirtation with the Minnesota Vikings prior to the signing of the contract. On the other hand, here we are once again. With the use of the word “expects” one has to consider the idea that Harbaugh is leaving the door open to NFL teams to ‘convince’ him. With the NFL’s regular season coming to an end this very Sunday, there are likely to be even more available coaching spots in the league, which is to say one way or another we’re going to see a development in this situation. Whether that’s the former 49ers coach staying put, or making a move to a team in the NFL, we can only wait to see.


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