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Report: Jim Harbaugh Could Be Interested in NFL Openings

Few coaches find  success at both the college and NFL level, but Jim Harbaugh fits the bill. After leading his alma mater Michigan to its first College Football Playoff appearance, a new report from The Athletic indicates that Harbaugh could have real interest in returning to pro football, with the Bears and Raiders jobs cited as possibilities for him.

“Harbaugh might be tempted to leave the Wolverines to return to the NFL,” The Athletic's Bruce Feldman wrote Tuesday.

The Raiders job is the main potential NFL job cited in the report. Harbaugh has a pre-existing relationship with owner Mark Davis, and the Raiders are equipped with a competitive roster, including star quarterback Derek Carr

Harbaugh's first coaching job was working with the Raiders quarterbacks in 2002–03, before he took his first head coaching opportunity at San Diego in 2004.

Las Vegas is 9–7 this season, one win away from clinching a wild card spot. Former coach Jon Gruden resigned earlier in the 2021 season after the release of racist, misogynistic and anti-LGBTQ emails that were reviewed as part of the NFL's workplace misconduct investigation into the Washington Football Team.

The Raiders are 6–5 under interim coach Rich Bisaccia since Gruden's departure.

The Bears are also cited as a possible fit for Harbaugh if current Chicago coach Matt Nagy is fired. Harbaugh was taken in the first round by the franchise in the 1987 NFL draft, and he started 65 games for the team. 

Harbaugh had an impressive four-year run with the 49ers from 2011–14, reaching Super Bowl XLVII in '12. He went 44-19-1 in four seasons with San Francisco, adding a 5–3 playoff record.

He is coming off of his best season at Michigan, just a year after the school signed him to a contract extension that halved his base salary.

“I reacted. ... No big deal. Attacking each day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind as always,” Harbaugh said ahead of last week's Orange Bowl, when asked about his amended contract. “Didn't really mean anything to me—It's just money. Big deal.”

Harbaugh is 119–51 at the college level in stops at Michigan, Stanford and San Diego.

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