Rumors have been constantly swirling around Jim Harbaugh and the Raiders’ head coaching position. While most of the reporting and speculation to date has been centered on owner Mark Davis working to convince Harbaugh to return to the NFL, not much has been said with respect to the latter’s interest in the position.
According to a report from Bruce Feldman of the Athletic, the presumption that the current Michigan HC is the favorite to take over in Las Vegas is certainly warranted from both perspectives. As he writes, there are “multiple sources” inside the school’s program who “think [that] if Harbaugh is offered the Raiders’ head coaching job, he’d take it”.
The 58-year-old’s ties to the franchise date back to 2002, the start of his NFL coaching career. It was then, during his tenure as the team’s QB coach, that a longstanding friendship with Davis began. Feldman also notes that Harbaugh “has family ties to Las Vegas, which is where he met his wife”. Those were some of the factors that made him an early favorite for the HC position, before the Raiders even began conducting interviews.
Recent developments have also pointed towards Harbaugh ultimately being hired. GM Mike Mayock was let go on Monday; one of the effects of that decision is, according to many, an increased likelihood that interim HC Rick Bisaccia won’t return despite his ability to settle down a turbulent season and help guide the team to the playoffs. It has been reported for weeks, of course, that Davis has his sights set on Harbaugh, and has all along. A departure from Bisaccia would only open the door further to Harbaugh being brought in.
Two things are important to keep in mind with this situation. Firstly, Bisaccia interviewed for the full-time HC gig on Wednesday, so he does still have a chance to be retained. Secondly, as Feldman warns, “Harbaugh can be hard to read”. Taking that point into consideration, along with the fact that the Wolverines just had their best season of Harbaugh’s tenure (defeating Ohio State en route to a CFP semifinal appearance), leaves open the possibility that Michigan could try to keep him in place with a new contract.
Ultimately, though, this latest news seems to be another signal that a second head coaching role is in the cards for the former Super Bowl runner-up.