Jim Harbaugh has a big reputation.
He has been successful at every coaching stop, from San Jose State, to Stanford, and even at the NFL level with the San Francisco 49ers. The common denominator in many of his prior stops is the four years he stays before moving on for one reason or another. Currently, Harbaugh just wrapped up his third year at Michigan, and, for what it’s worth (which is a lot, given the Bears current HC needs), it looks like he’ll see a Year 4.
Angelique Chengelis (Detroit News) writes that Harbaugh is not considering a return to the NFL in 2018, giving a flat “no” response when asked about it. Oooooook then.
Harbaugh was asked about NFL-related coaching rumors earlier in the week, but compared them to “warmed-up oatmeal” (whatever that’s supposed to mean) before requesting to move on to the next question. So if you were hoping Harbaugh’s Outback Bowl loss to South Carolina would be his last before dumping his alma mater for the challenge of guiding quarterback Mitch Trubisky and the Chicago Bears, I’m sorry to be the bearer (get it?) of bad news. And if you’re an Ohio State fan who sees Michigan on the schedule and is ready to pencil in a “W” on next year’s schedule, then you’re probably smirking as you read this.
If Harbaugh was to return to the NFL, he was expected to have plenty of suitors despite going through a down year at Michigan. The Bears and Indianapolis Colts, two teams with ties to Harbaugh’s professional playing career, were rumored to be among the most interested in Harbaugh’s services for all the obvious reasons. And even though GM Ryan Pace said he would not rule out a college coach for the Bears opening, it’s safe to say they would not have been alone in going after Harbaugh.
Alas, Harbaugh will stick it out with the Wolverines for at least another year. Perhaps he will re-evaluate his situation after Year 4, as he has done at each of his previous stops – but if things go right in Chicago, that would mean no Harbaugh for the Bears – at least, not this time around.