Dianna Russini of The Athletic turned several heads this week when she went on The Herd with Colin Cowherd to discuss the upcoming head coaching carousel. Not only did she express the belief that Matt Eberflus is likely gone after this season based on what she’s heard, but she also dropped a small bombshell. Apparently, the Chicago Bears brass has held internal discussions about approaching Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh about the job if Eberflus is out in January.
We’ve heard for years that Harbaugh is interested in the Bears job. It isn’t a surprise. He was a quarterback here from 1987 through 1992. Mike Ditka was a huge mentor to him. If there was one NFL job he prized, it was Chicago. Throw in the fact that former Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren is the new team president and the conditions don’t get more ideal for him to get a chance. Still, some are reluctant to trust Russini’s info. Well, she isn’t alone anymore. Former ESPN beat writer and Hall of Fame voter Armando Salguero chimed in on Harbaugh for Outkick.
He confirmed everything Russini said.
“The University of Michigan coach is expected back on the sideline Saturday when the Wolverines play Iowa in the Big 10 championship game in Indianapolis. But as Harbaugh and his team focus on winning the conference and even the national title, NFL teams weighing their future head coach options have Harbaugh in their sights.
The Chicago Bears have had informal internal discussions about Harbaugh and whether adding him to a potential list of candidates makes sense if or when the club moves on from incumbent coach Matt Eberflus, a source confirmed to OutKick on Thursday. Dianna Russini of The Athletic was first to report the possibility.”
Jim Harbaugh isn’t a lock, but this feels different.
In 2018 and 2022, when the Bears head coaching job was available, Harbaugh was always rumored to be interested. It was a natural connection. There was one underlying issue. Said interest was never reciprocated. Not only did the organization refuse to hire him, they didn’t even ask for an interview. That should tell you how little interest they had. The fact they’re having actual discussions about him now tells you how much the situation has changed. Perhaps years of losing have finally worn the McCaskeys down to a point where they’ll try anything.
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Ownership has remained consistent in their approach at head coach for years. They don’t want big personalities. They want level-headed guys who toe a particular line in front of the media. Ditka was a big reason for that organizational shift. It might explain why they’ve been so bad at finding capable coaches for decades. None of them have the necessary charisma for the job. For all his faults, Jim Harbaugh understands how to lead a locker room. Hiring him would be a risk. Still, his track record says he will have the Bears competitive in short order.