NFL Rumors: Michigan's Jim Harbaugh, Broncos Met About HC Job; 'Door Remains Open'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 29, 2023

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - DECEMBER 31: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines is seen during warmups prior to the game against the TCU Horned Frogs in the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium on December 31, 2022 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
Norm Hall/Getty Images

Jim Harbaugh reportedly hasn't closed the door on the NFL after all.

While the Michigan head coach announced he was staying with the Wolverines this month, Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported "the door remains open" with the Denver Broncos.

According to the report, Broncos owner and CEO Greg Penner flew to Michigan to meet with the 59-year-old.

"Harbaugh has remained willing to listen and has told people if he were to return to the NFL, the Broncos' job is one he'd want," Rapoport and Pelissero wrote.

NFL rumors surrounding Harbaugh have seemingly become an annual tradition.

It even reached a point last offseason when ESPN's Courtney Cronin reported Harbaugh "operated under the assumption" that the Minnesota job was his as he entered an interview. The Vikings hired Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator Kevin O'Connell as their head coach instead.

Harbaugh then told reporters in March he was no longer considering a jump to the NFL.

"Ultimately, I decided this is where I wanted to be," he said. "And really, a lot of gratitude for that."

It surely didn't hurt that Michigan gave him a five-year contract extension last offseason, but The Athletic reported this month he was expected to leave the Wolverines if he was offered a head coaching job in the NFL.

It is notable Rapoport and Pelissero reported the Broncos did not offer him the job during the recent meeting and that Penner instead wanted to see him because he was the one candidate who did not interview in person. Harbaugh had a virtual meeting with the organization Jan. 9.

The extended interest from the NFL comes as no surprise, as Harbaugh was successful as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers with a 44-19-1 record from 2011 through 2014. The 2012 49ers reached the Super Bowl, while the 2011 and 2013 teams went to the NFC Championship Game.

Harbaugh also has an impressive track record in the college game and has helped return his alma mater to national powerhouse status.

The Wolverines are coming off two consecutive wins over Ohio State and back-to-back Big Ten titles and College Football Playoff appearances. The program has plenty of momentum on assuming Harbaugh returns for a ninth season at U-M.

Yet the NFL rumors continue for a second straight offseason.