During his press availability discussing the firing of Brian Flores, Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross shot down any discussion of the team looking to pull University of Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh back to the NFL. An alumnus of Michigan, Ross is a major donor to the school and said he would not be the person to take Harbaugh away from the school. As the Dolphins have gone through their coaching search, they have concentrated on coordinators from around the league, staying clear of Harbaugh.
Could that be changing? On Saturday, Pro Football Talk reported the Minnesota Vikings are planning to interview Harbaugh. If the coach is already leaving the Michigan Wolverines, then the Dolphins hiring him would not be taking him away from Ross’ alma mater, but would be hiring a coach who already left.
Semantics. But it could be an important one.
Could this have been the plan the entire time? Could the Dolphins have just been waiting for the indictation that Harbaugh is already leaving Michigan before the jump into discussions with the coach?
Harbaugh played quarterback for Michigan from 1983 through 1986 before being the 26th overall pick in the NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears. He spent 14 years in the league, playing for the Bears, the Indianapolis Colts, the Baltimore Ravens, and the San Diego Chargers. He spent the 2001 preseason with the Detroit Lions, then served as a backup with the Carolina Panthers that season, but did not appear in a game. He was selected to the 1995 Pro Bowl.
He began his coaching career in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders’ quarterbacks coach after unofficially working at Western Kentucky as an assistant during his playing career. He was named the head coach at the University of San Diego in 2004, then moved to Standford in 2007 as their head coach. He jumped back to the NFL as the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 2011, leading the team to three straight NFC Championship games including a Super Bowl appearance after the 2012 season. In 2014, he left the 49ers to assume the head coach position at Michigan.
If Harbaugh is going to leave Michigan no matter what, then Ross was not the one to take him away from the school - Harbaugh was. And, if Harbaugh is going to be in the NFL, Ross likely will want him to be the Dolphins’ coach. Could this be the moment when Harbaugh becomes a target for Miami?