Jim Harbaugh and the NFL: Will He Go to the Bears or Raiders?

Sports Heat Column: Reports indicate the Michigan Wolverines' Jim Harbaugh is more serious than ever about returning to the NFL

Sports critics around the country are talking about Jim Harbaugh and his potential return to the NFL.

After several years coaching the Michigan Wolverines, Harbaugh finally led the team to a Big 10 victory this year, as well as a much-covered win over rivals Ohio State. He also led them to a national championship playoff game. That didn’t end so well, but it doesn’t take away from his stellar season.

Following such a solid year, many argue that if Harbaugh wants to go back to the NFL, this year is his best shot. Coming off that great record, there are at least two NFL teams reportedly interested in Harbaugh, to boot.

Longtime college football writer Bruce Feldman is reporting that Harbaugh may really want that NFL reunion. According to a tweet from Feldman, “Sources from both from the NFL side, and at Michigan, tell The Athletic that Jim Harbaugh might be tempted to leave the Wolverines to return to the NFL.”

Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer is taking it one step further. He says Harbaugh was not too happy about his pay cut with the Wolverines last year. That might make a new deal even sweeter.

“Does he want back in the NFL? Maybe. My understanding is, despite what’s been said publicly, he wasn’t happy about having to take a pay cut last year,” Breer writes in Friday’s (Jan. 7) “GamePlan” column. “He accepted it only after exploring NFL openings (the Jets and Chargers were among the teams who were asked about him) and finding no interest. After a bounce-back year, and now aligned with an NFL-centric staff, there’s renewed curiosity in him from the pros.”

If Harbaugh does return to the NFL, reports indicate it will be with the Bears or Raiders. On the Rich Eisen show, Feldman said he’s heard the interest is mutual between both the Bears and Harbaugh.

Harbaugh left the NFL in 2014 following a head coaching stint with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He scored Coach of the Year in his first season and complied a 44-19-1 record with three NFC title appearances and a Super Bowl XLVII appearance.

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