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Jim Harbaugh says he’ll be back at Michigan in 2023 with a caveat

Jim Harbaugh has his Michigan Wolverines at 13-0 on the season and preparing for the College Football Playoff after win over Purdue in Saturday night’s Big 10 Championship Game.

The backdrop here is Harbaugh’s name continuing to be bandied about when it comes to a potential return to the NFL.

Harbaugh, 58, continues to be asked about his future with Michigan on a near never-ending loop. That included more questions surrounding his plans after it was announced the Wolverines will take on TCU in the Fiesta Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

“That time of the year type of speculation, but I think no man knows the future. But I think that people that think we’ve done a good job and are pleased with the job that we’ve done here at Michigan, they’re going to be very happy to learn that we will be back enthusiastically coaching the Wolverines in 2023. And for those people that don’t approve of the job we’ve done or would rather see somebody else coaching here, I think they’ll be most likely disappointed to learn we’ll be back coaching the Wolverines and in 2023.”

Jim Harbaugh on his future, via ESPN

Harbaugh also went on to note that no one really knows what the future will bring and that he doesn’t have a crystal ball. Given his flirtation with the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings last offseason, that might cause some to pause.

The former San Francisco 49ers head coach also wouldn’t apologize for keeping his options open when it comes to a potential return to the NFL after his otherwise succcessful tenure in the Bay Area came to a drama-filled conclusion following the 2014 season.

Related: Jim Harbaugh and the highest-paid college football coaches of 2022-23

Jim Harbaugh has a perfect thing going at Michigan

jim harbaugh, michigan wolverines
Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Harbaugh’s ability to lead Michigan to a rare win over Ohio State Thanksgiving weekend changed the dynamics big time in Ann Arbor. While the Wolverines’ success will be gauged by national championships, getting that monkey off their back against the hated Buckeyes over the past two seasons is no small thing.

A star quarterback for Michigan from 1983-1986, Harbaugh is close to royalty in the college football town. After an appearance in the playoff last season ended in a semifinal loss to Georgia, Michigan looks like a legitimate title contender as it makes its way to the CFP again.

Related: Update College Football Rankings

What could force Jim Harbaugh to the NFL

san francisco 49ers head coach jim harbaugh
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

It was reported late last month that at least two teams are fascinated over the possibility of landing Harbaugh. That includes his former Indianapolis Colts squad as well as the Denver Broncos.

Harbaugh played for Indianapolis from 1994-1997, enjoying a nice amount of success with that organization in the process. This included an appearance in the AFC Championship Game following the 1995 season. Indianapolis could very well be in the market for a new head coach after firing Frank Reich earlier in the season.

The same thing can be said about the Broncos. They’re now 4-8 on the season following an ugly Week 13 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Nathaniel Hackett has proven to be in over his head in his first season with the Broncos. The presence of future Hall of Fame quarterback Russell Wilson as well as Denver’s new ownership group could lead to the downtrodden organization attempting to make a splash in the new year.

  • Jim Harbaugh coaching record (college): 103-45, two bowl wins

After some initial struggles at Michigan (three-plus losses in each of his first six seasons), the Wolverines have posted a 25-2 record since the start of the 2021 campaign. This has Harbaugh as one of the top coaches in college football and as a wanted man in the pros.

What does this all mean? He should have his pick of the litter when it comes to potential head-coach openings in the NFL. Whether Indianapolis and Denver are good fits remains to be seen.

Perhaps, a job opens up with the Dallas Cowboys or Las Vegas Raiders following the 2022 season. If so, that could change the dynamics here.

As it stands, Harbaugh seems conent with returning to Michigan for a ninth season. Wouldn’t you be?