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Colts' Familiar Head Coaching Rumor Starting to Heat Up

Rumors about the next Indianapolis Colts head coach are already starting to heat up after their latest embarrassing loss, particularly surrounding one familiar face.
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Four weeks ago, the Indianapolis Colts fired head coach Frank Reich and then made an odd choice to fill their interim vacancy with Jeff Saturday, their former Pro Bowl center who had no coaching experience beyond the high school level and who was working at the time as an analyst at ESPN.

Things actually started out well following that dose of reality as the Colts went on to win their following game against the Las Vegas Raiders and then took one of the NFL's best teams, the Philadelphia Eagles, to the brink a week later. However, two consecutive flops on national television have been the results ever since, culminating with an embarrassing, 54-19 loss to the Dallas Cowboys last night on Sunday Night Football.

Suffice it to say, people aren't exactly clamoring for Saturday to be retained in his head coaching position, but the chatter about another former Colts player filling the spot is beginning to heat up.

Jim Harbaugh — who is in the Colts' Ring of Honor and known as "Captain Comeback" locally for his heroics with the Colts in the 1990s — is currently riding high in his role as head coach of the No. 2-ranked Michigan Wolverines as he prepares for the College Football Playoff.

Many fans have mentioned Harbaugh's name throughout the years in connection with the Colts following his departure as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers. However, what might make the connection even more possible is Colts owner Jim Irsay's affinity for trying to make new things happen with former members of the team. The Saturday hire is a perfect example.

This doesn't just appear to be the latest dose of fan fiction, though. Credible local figures as well as plugged-in national ones are bringing it up as well.

According to Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport of NFL Network, "Sources say multiple NFL teams have been doing background work recently on Harbaugh... One NFL source plugged into the situation said they believe Harbaugh would consider a return to the NFL, and a source with another team that could be running a head-coaching search said they believe Harbaugh would discuss an opening if asked and weigh the right situation."

Pelissero and Rapoport didn't mention the Colts or any other team specifically, but the Colts are one of only a couple of teams to fire their head coach already before the season was finished.

On Monday morning, Rapoport pointed out The Athletic columnist Bob Kravitz's article calling for the hiring of Harbaugh, and also tweeted his own article with the caption, "With his old team the #Colts having an opening for a head coach, NFL teams are doing homework on Jim Harbaugh again and at least a few key people believe he'd consider it."

Harbaugh wouldn't just be a feel-good story coming back to the Colts, though. He's a legitimately established head coach known for turning teams around. He did it in college with San Diego, Stanford, and Michigan, and in the NFL with the 49ers.

With an overall head coaching record of 172-64-1 (9-9 in the postseason), he's won four conference championships as a college coach, was the NFL Coach of the Year (2011), AP College Football Coach of the Year (2021), the Big Ten Coach of the Year (2022), and took his 49ers to the Super Bowl in 2012.

So, with the Colts about two months ahead of most other teams in their head-coaching search, is Harbaugh a target of theirs?

Follow Jake on Twitter and Facebook @JakeArthurNFL. Follow Horseshoe Huddle on Facebook and Twitter.