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Reports: Panthers talked to Jim Harbaugh

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh against the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper had a conversation — not an interview — with Jim Harbaugh about the team’s coaching vacancy, multiple outlets reported Tuesday.

In addition, the Indianapolis Colts also are reportedly planning to discuss their vacancy with Harbaugh. The Denver Broncos reportedly reached out to Harbaugh on Monday.

The Athletic has reported that Harbaugh is all but gone from Michigan if he gets an offer from an NFL franchise.

The Panthers will not begin formal interviews until after their season ends Sunday against New Orleans.

Harbaugh went 44-19-1 as head coach of the San Francisco 49ers before returning to the college ranks at his alma mater, Michigan. Harbaugh led the Wolverines to back-to-back Big Ten championships and a second consecutive appearance in the College Football Playoff semifinals. Michigan’s season ended on New Year’s Eve in a 51-45 loss to TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

Harbaugh signed a new five-year, $36.7 million deal with Michigan after interviewing with Minnesota following the 2021 season. Harbaugh’s new contract with Michigan runs through 2026, with a $3 million buyout until Year 2, which begins Jan. 11.

Harbaugh, 59, is familiar with the Colts, having played quarterback for the franchise during his pro career. His time in Indianapolis (1994-97) included a run to the AFC Championship game in the 1995 season, and his nickname “Captain Comeback” was born.

Carolina has shown improvement under interim coach Steve Wilks, but the Panthers are 6-10 and no longer in contention for the playoffs.

Wilks was promoted after Matt Rhule was fired by Tepper, who said he was seeking a cultural reset for the franchise.

–Field Level Media