Often men reticent with the media about their personal lives and decision making are subject to the most sensational rumor mongering. University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh is the example ne plus ultra of recent years.

With his team forced to cancel Saturday’s home game with Maryland, the fate of the Ohio State game next Saturday in the offing, and Harbaugh consistently denying or refusing to comment on job speculation, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk has stepped forward with the tenuous mantle of “multiple unnamed sources” raised aloft, claiming there’s scuttlebutt Harbaugh is eyeing a return to the NFL.

This has been an almost weekly tradition with Harbaugh since he returned to coach at his alma mater from the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, but it may be a decision out of Harbaugh’s hands after this season. The Wolverines are guaranteed to finish 2020 without a home victory for the first time in the 141 year existence of the program. That historical nadir is slightly misleading in this pandemic season because Michigan only played two games, seeing the rest of the slate cancelled due to protocols related to the pandemic, but it remains a dubious mark in the record book.  

M-Live published Sunday morning a piece on the Florio report and commented on the situation with Harbaugh, writing that: “The latter report isn’t a big surprise. Teams have reportedly gauged intelligence and interest from Harbaugh throughout his Michigan tenure, one that could be in jeopardy with just one year left on his original contract and no sign of an imminent extension.”

Harbaugh’s seven year contract expires almost immediately at the end of next season and there’ve been few reports about an extension, or even discussion of an extension, getting underway in Ann Arbor. Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel has said he wants Harbaugh to retire as Michigan coach, and Harbaugh himself has said he wants to stay on as head coach of the sport’s all-time winningest program. But with the unusual amount of losing and failing to hit pre-season benchmarks for his teams, the two sides may find the path forward has been illuminated for them. 

Though, it ought to be stated, Florio is no stranger to racking up losses of his own.