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Despite NFL rumors, Jim Harbaugh ‘expects to’ continue coaching Michigan in 2023

Jim Harbaugh
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-23 college football season is over for the Michigan Wolverines, but clearly, head coach Jim Harbaugh isn’t done playing games.

Recently, rumors have begun to heat up, linking Harbaugh back to the NFL, where he’s viewed as one of the top coaching candidates in this hiring cycle. With ‘Black Monday‘ set for Jan. 9, the day following the NFL’s final week of the regular season when we typically see several NFL head coaches hit the firing block, speculation will only continue to mount.

But not if coach Harbaugh and his public relations team can get ahead of such discussions.

Related: Carolina Panthers have spoken with Jim Harbaugh about head coaching vacancy

Jim Harbaugh aware of NFL speculation, committed to Michigan

Syndication: Arizona Republic
Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

In light of all the reports suggesting Harbaugh returning to the NFL is the league’s worst-kept secret, the former San Francisco 49ers head coach put out an official statement on Thursday addressing such concerns.

Here’s what the Michigan coach had to say.

“I am aware of the rumors and speculation over the past few days. College and NFL teams have great interest in all our personnel, from players to coaches to staff, and I truly believe that is a testament to the strength of our University of Michigan football program.

As I stated in December, while no one knows what the future holds, I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023. I have spoken with President Santa Ono and Athletic Director Warde Manuel and appreciate their support of me and their program. Our mission as Wolverines continues, and we are preparing for the 2023 season with great passion and enthusiasm. As our legendary coach Bo Schembechler said – “Those who stay will be champions.”

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh quelling rumors of a return to the NFL

That last line could come back to haunt Harbaugh if he inevitably chooses to return to the NFL. “those who stay will be champions.” Well, what about those who leave?

No one would blame Harbaugh for trying to pursue the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl in the NFL, but statements like these only look foolish later should he bail on Michigan.

As he mentions, no one knows what the future holds, but even his statement suggests Harbaugh may be open to other opportunities. Unless he comes out and guarantees that he’ll be in Ann Arbor to begin the 2023 college football season, no one will really take his statements as anything truthful. That’s just the world we live in.

Related: Jim Harbaugh’s return to NFL reportedly a ‘done deal’