NFL Rumors: Jim Harbaugh Interview Hasn't Been Requested by Any Team with HC Vacancy

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 14, 2022

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 31: Head Coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines looks on before the game against the Georgia Bulldogs in the Capital One Orange Bowl for the College Football Playoff semifinal game at Hard Rock Stadium on December 31, 2021 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images

University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh reportedly hasn't officially interviewed for any of the NFL head coaching vacancies despite rumors about a potential return to the pro level.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk reported Friday no Harbaugh interviews were confirmed to the league office as required by rule, which suggests he could be using NFL interest as leverage in contract talks with U-M or the discussions happened "off the books."

The Harbaugh buzz started before the NFL coaching carousel even started spinning, and it kicked into overdrive after the Miami Dolphins surprisingly fired Brian Flores on Monday.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, a major Michigan donor, quickly shot down speculation Flores' departure was a way to clear the way for the Wolverines head coach, though.

"I'm not going to be the person that takes Jim Harbaugh from the University of Michigan. I hope he stays there. He's a great coach," Ross told reporters.

Instead, the pair have been talking behind the scenes about ways to keep him in charge of the UM program with the coach "actively talking to the powers-that-be about a new contract," per Florio.

That hasn't materialized so far, however, which leaves open the possibility he could return to the NFL.

Harbaugh compiled a 44-19-1 record across four years with the San Francisco 49ers from 2011 through 2014. The Niners made the playoffs in three of those seasons, highlighted by a trip to Super Bowl XLVII, where they lost to Jim's brother, John, and the Baltimore Ravens.

CBS Sports' Jason La Canfora reported the Las Vegas Raiders were a team to watch if Harbaugh decided on a second NFL stint as he's "very well liked" by team owner Mark Davis.

The Raiders qualified for the playoffs under the guidance of interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, but have yet to make any coaching decisions for next season as they prepare for Saturday's playoff game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

All told, the fact Harbaugh hasn't formally interviewed for an NFL job despite eight vacancies suggests the rumors are merely a leverage play to secure a new deal from Michigan after leading the Wolverines to the College Football Playoff this season.

If a new contract doesn't get done in the near future, then perhaps his look toward the pro game will become more intense.