Report: Jim Harbaugh Met with Broncos Owner Greg Penner, No Contract Materialized

Erin WalshJanuary 29, 2023

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31:  Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh runs onto the field before the VRBO Fiesta Bowl college football national championship semifinal game between the Michigan Wolverines and the TCU Horned Frogs on December 31, 2022 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh met with Denver Broncos owner Greg Penner last week to discuss the team's vacant head coaching position, but a deal never materialized, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

"Although Harbaugh two weeks ago announced he was staying at Michigan, Penner did his due diligence and still traveled to Ann Arbor to meet with the coach in person, like he's done with seven other candidates during the Broncos' head coaching search," Schefter wrote.

One league source also told Schefter that the NFL "will likely move on" from Harbaugh, who "is not likely to have many NFL options in the future."

Harbaugh previously coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014. He went 44-19-1 in his four seasons at the helm and also led San Francisco to the Super Bowl during the 2012 season.

The 49ers fired Harbaugh following the 2014 season, and he was hired by Michigan ahead of the 2015 campaign. In his eight years with Michigan, he is 74-25 and has led the Wolverines to back-to-back appearances in the College Football Playoff.

While Harbaugh was a candidate for Denver's head coaching position at one point this winter, he released a statement on Jan. 16 reaffirming his commitment to Michigan.

"I love the relationships that I have at Michigan—coaches, staff, families, administration, president Santa Ono and especially the players and their families," Harbaugh said, per Schefter. "My heart is at the University of Michigan. I once heard a wise man say, 'Don't try to out-happy, happy.' Go Blue!"

The Broncos are one of four teams remaining with a head coaching vacancy this offseason, joining the Arizona Cardinals, Houston Texans and Indianapolis Colts. The Carolina Panthers filled their vacancy earlier this week by hiring Frank Reich.

There are a number of well-respected candidates who remain in contention for Denver's head coaching job, including Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero, 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton, former Stanford head coach David Shaw, Los Angeles Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris, and former Colts and Detroit Lions head coach Jim Caldwell.

Ryans has emerged as a top candidate for the job, Mike Klis of 9News Denver reported Thursday.