The Denver Broncos plan to interview University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh for the head coaching job early this week, according to sources.
Harbaugh, 59, has been weighing his NFL options in recent weeks and is now scheduled for a virtual interview with Denver in the coming days, along with several other candidates.
After the Broncos Disqualified Nathaniel Hackett With two games left in his senior season on Dec. 26, the expectation was that Denver’s new system would swing big, and Harpo certainly fit the bill. He was 44-19-1 as the 49ers’ head coach from 2011-14, leading San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game three times and appearing in Super Bowl XLVII before leaving to return to his alma mater.
Sources say the Bronco has it, too Requested and received permission to conduct an interview Sean Payton, who is still under contract with the Saints and will need to get him in a trade. The Cowboys’ defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn, is also expected to be a prime target for the Broncos, who said they plan to interview their DC, Ejiro Evero, as well.
There are connections in Denver for Harbaugh. Condoleezza Rice, a member of the Broncos’ ownership group and search committee, has deep ties to Stanford University, where Harbaugh coached prior to his first NFL stint. Broncos co-owner and CEO Greg Benner holds an MBA from Stanford University.
This isn’t the first time Harbaugh has considered returning to the NFL. He interviewed last year with the Vikings, who ended up hiring Kevin O’Connell. Harbaugh returned to Michigan and said at the time He would not consider returning to the NFL again. The Wolverines were 13-0 this season before falling to TCU in the College Football Playoff Semifinals on New Year’s Eve.
Amid recent reports of NFL interest, Harbaugh A statement was issued “As I mentioned in December, while no one knows what the future holds, I anticipate that I will coach Michigan with enthusiasm in 2023,” he said Thursday in part.
The powers that be at Michigan can help make that a reality by offering Harbaugh a contract that will make him one of the highest-paid coaches in college football and give him a long-term commitment. Herbaugh could end up being Michigan’s longest-serving coach since Bo Schembechler and he loves his alma mater. But it wasn’t a smooth ride.
In January 2021, coming off a COVID-shortened season, Harbaugh took a paycheck that cut his salary nearly in half. Then, after his first Big Ten title since 2004, he got his salary back—but it was still short of Penn State’s James Franklin and Michigan State’s Mel Tucker. Harbaugh earned $8.05 million in 2022. While there have been some discussions with Michigan about a raise in the past couple of weeks, nothing has come to fruition yet, which has helped open the door to NFL interest.
Harbou also had a short conversation with the Cheetahs that amounted to nothing. It’s also possible he could appear as a candidate with the Colts, with whom he played four seasons (1994-1997) and earned a spot in the Ring of Honor.
As Harbaugh listens to NFL teams, those close to him constantly talk about his love for Michigan and how much this job still means to him. There is still time for the school to contractually share that love, and with the Broncos meeting so close, the clock may be ticking to make it happen.
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