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Harbaugh focused on Michigan’s national title hopes amid NFL interest

By Jake Beardslee · November 30, 2023

In brief…

  • Jim Harbaugh has undefeated Michigan in Big Ten title game, seeking first national championship since 1997
  • Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears have reportedly inquired about Harbaugh's interest in NFL head coaching jobs
  • Harbaugh last coached in NFL with 49ers in 2014, taking them to Super Bowl
  • Said last year he wouldn't pursue NFL jobs again, but struggling Panthers and Bears could entice him
Jim Harbaugh has #2 Michigan seeking a national title, but NFL's struggling Panthers and Bears are reportedly trying to lure him back to the pros.  Daniel Hartwig/Wikimedia

As Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh guides his undefeated No. 2-ranked Wolverines into the Big Ten championship game seeking the program’s first national title since 1997, two NFL franchises in need of new direction have reportedly inquired about Harbaugh’s interest in returning to the pros.

According to NFL reporter Dianna Russini, both the Carolina Panthers and Chicago Bears organizations have had past conversations with Harbaugh about their head coaching positions. “”[Panthers owner David] Tepper and Harbaugh had conversations last year. It obviously didn’t pan out, but this was something that they discussed. So, that’s a name I’m hearing again,” Russini said on “The Herd.” She added, “The Chicago Bears are another organization I have heard has had some conversations about that, depending on what decision they make with this coaching staff that is in place and, of course, what they do with that quarterback situation.”

Harbaugh last coached in the NFL in 2014, when he led the San Francisco 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance. When asked last year about entertaining future NFL opportunities, Harbaugh said it would likely be the final time he pursued NFL head-coaching job. But with Carolina firing its head coach mid-season and sitting at 1-10, and Chicago likely owning two top-five 2023 draft picks, Harbaugh could find the situations enticing as he seeks to capture his first national championship at Michigan after winning Big Ten titles in three consecutive seasons.