The Chicago Bears remain busy with their efforts to find a new GM and head coach for their franchise. Multiple interviews are set up for this weekend including Packers offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and both Bills coordinators Brian Daboll and Leslie Frazier. Yet through all of this, a rather large elephant sits in the room. That is Jim Harbaugh. Since reports surfaced that the Michigan head coach was considering an NFL return, his camp has been rather quiet.
Many have taken this to mean he is likely to stay put and is trying to wring the university for more money. Others believe he is waiting to find out what happens with certain organizations in the NFL. Particularly Chicago and Las Vegas. The Raiders are in the playoffs so their head coach situation remains to be determined. It isn’t clear whether interim man Rich Bisacchia will stick around or if owner Mark Davis seeks somebody else.
Mike Florio of NBC Sports provided an interesting update.
As a source with knowledge of the situation explains it to PFT, Harbaugh is watching and waiting to see whether a team with a reasonable ownership and General Manager situation is interested in giving him an opportunity to continue an NFL career that resulted, from 2011 through 2014, in a record of 44-19-1 and a Super Bowl berth. At age 58, Harbaugh wants to get back to the Super Bowl and win it…
…Some think Jim Harbaugh is simply trying to leverage Michigan into paying him more. Per the source, that’s not what it’s about (which will obviously make some say, “Of course that’s what it’s about”). It’s about unfinished business from nearly a decade ago, when Harbaugh took a 6-10 team and turned it around almost immediately, without the benefit of an offseason program in his first year, thanks to the lockout.
Remember that Harbaugh is 58-years old. He isn’t getting any younger. NFL teams don’t tend to hire coaches in their 60s too often these days. The longer he waits, the more the gleam of his accomplishments in San Francisco will fade. He has to weigh this decision carefully. It might be the last best opportunity he will have to return. At the same time, he has a good situation in Michigan. He can’t give it up for just anything.
That is why he is waiting.
However, the winds might be changing now. An unexpected event just occurred inside the university. One that might spur Harbaugh to make a determined push to leave town. According to David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press, Michigan school president Mark Schlissel was fired from his position by the school’s Board of Regents. This is over a supposed illicit relationship with a subordinate.
The University of Michigan Board of Regents has unanimously fired school President Mark Schlissel for cause following an investigation into a relationship with a subordinate, the board announced Saturday evening.
In a letter to Schlissel, the board spelled out its concerns and said his conduct was “particularly egregious considering your knowledge of and involvement in addressing incidents of harassment by University of Michigan personnel, and your declared commitment to work to ‘free’ the University community of sexual harassment or other improper conduct.
Jim Harbaugh might desire an exit from a messy situation
He always had a rather testy relationship with Schlissel during their time together at Michigan. Now with the president out, there is suddenly a lot of unknowns surrounding the future of the program. There could be a strong likelihood Harbaugh doesn’t want to stick around for the fallout to come from that mess. In fact, one has to wonder if he saw it coming and slowly began drifting towards the exit door.
Conspiracies aside, Jim Harbaugh has more incentive now to leave than ever before. Based on what Florio said, it’s possible he might be waiting to see what happens with the Bears GM situation before deciding if he wants to pursue the job. Reports indicated Chicago is interested in the veteran coach, seeing him as the “leader of men” type they’re looking for. This will be a story to follow in the coming days.