Three straight losses to arch-rival Ohio State haven’t taken the shine off Jim Harbaugh as a head coach candidate in the eyes of the NFL.
On FOX NFL Sunday, ace insider Jay Glazer dropped a nugget regarding the University of Michigan’s head football coach:
Jay Glazer on FOX: “Jim Harbaugh is still a very hot candidate. There’s a lot of people in the NFL who are going to have job openings, who are hoping that things go downhill with him, that he can possibly be available to bring in & lure him back to a NFL head coaching position.”
— The Ten-Yard Line (@TheTenYardLine) November 26, 2017
Not only did Glazer note that Harbaugh is still seen as a hot coaching candidate, but he also added that NFL teams are hoping things get bad enough at Michigan to the point where he can be lured away from coaching his alma mater. The Wolverines racked up back-to-back 10-win seasons in Harbaugh’s first two years replacing Brady Hoke, but dropped to 8-4 and a fourth-place finish in the Big Tean East.
While there haven’t been any concrete connections between Harbaugh and a return to the NFL, the smoke surrounding the situation has intensified.
The Chicago Bears are one of as many as nine teams who could have an opening at head coach in 2018 and are viewed as a potential fit because they have a young quarterback in need of grooming. The Indianapolis Colts are a possible fit, too, seeing that Harbaugh worked with Andrew Luck when both were at Stanford. And then there could be others who might want a shot at hiring a coach who coached Alex Smith to the NFC title game and Colin Kaepernick to a Super Bowl appearance.
And yet, Harbaugh leaving Michigan would still be a bit of a surprise. Leaving his alma mater with a 1-2 record against Michigan State and without beating Ohio State, making an appearance in the Big Ten Championship game, or cracking the College Football Playoffs would mark his tenure at Michigan as a failure.
Imagining a scenario in which Harbaugh leaves Michigan can be difficult, but it’s clear NFL teams think it’s a possibility. In a world where you can’t get what you don’t ask for, it appears as if NFL teams are lining up to take their shot at someone who is perceived to be a difference-making head coach.