By: Will Burchfield
Almost since the day Jim Harbaugh took over as head coach at Michigan, it’s been rumored that he could return to the NFL.
How about the alternative: Could Harbaugh stay in Ann Arbor forever?
Per former Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn, Michigan wants to make it happen. Quinn, now a college football and NFL analyst for Fox Sports, told Fox Sports Radio that the University is working on a lifetime contract for Harbaugh.
“I talked to someone who’s kind of an insider within that program and we had a long, drawn-out conversation. What he told me was, they’re working on a lifetime contract. I swear to you, I’m not trying to throw a wrench into (Harbaugh returning to the NFL). That was his words,” said Quinn.
Quinn, incredulous, said he pressed his source for more info, such as what a lifetime contract would even look like.
“He couldn’t give me particulars, but he said that’s one of the things that they’re talking about. That’s how confident, that’s how good they feel about Jim Harbaugh and how glad they are to have him there. So, maybe it’s something that he wants,” Quinn said.
The 53-year-old Harbaugh is under contract with Michigan through 2021. His base salary this season is about $7 million.
He’s been linked to the NFL numerous times over the past couple years, most recently to the Colts and the Bears. But Quinn said if he had to bet on Harbaugh either staying at Michigan forever or leaving for the NFL, he’d place money on the former.
“I would probably say Harbaugh staying, only because if he goes back to the NFL I don’t know how many people are going to be able to put up with him. He kind of wears thin after a while. Michigan just accepts him. They embrace it, really. That would be my reasoning for it,” said Quinn.
Over three seasons at Michigan, Harbaugh has a record of 28-9. Still, he’s yet to bag a signature win. Should he lead the Wolverines to a win over the Buckeyes on Saturday, Quinn said he could envision a scenario in which Harbaugh leaves Ann Arbor on top.
“I could see that, wanting to have it on his resume and kind of leave on a positive note, especially if one of two jobs opened up. I know a lot of people have connected him to the Bears — young quarterback in (Mitch) Trubisky, that would be good. Or the Colts, he could reunite with Andrew Luck,” said Quinn.