Thanks, but no thanks.
That was the response from the New York Jets brass when Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh expressed interest in making a return to the NFL in 2021.
Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated explained what went down in a recent mailbag when asked about the recent buzz about Harbaugh returning to the big leagues.
Harbaugh just turned 58 years old and knows the clock is ticking on a potential return. Last year “he sniffed around a bunch of jobs at the pro level (the Jets and the LA Chargers)”, but didn’t find much interest, per Breer.
Instead the green and white decided on Robert Saleh who previously served as the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator.
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Doing Some More Digging
The credentials for Harbaugh are undeniable. He has a 44-19-1 record in the NFL over four seasons with the 49ers from 2011 through 2014. The .695 winning percentage is the fifth-best all time of any NFL head coach in history.
Not only did he win a lot of regular-season games but he also brought San Fran to three consecutive NFC Championship games including a Super Bowl appearance against his brother John back in 2012.
On top of his NFL prowess, Harbaugh is coming off of arguably the most accomplished college football season of his career:
- College Football Playoff appearance
- His first win versus Ohio State
- Big Ten championship crown
- AP Coach of the Year
In other words, if Harbaugh was ever going to make a jump to the NFL, now would be a better time than any. In terms of his NFL head coaching stock, it probably won’t be any higher than it is right now.
A lot of people still remember the success he had at the professional level and his recent winning in college makes him an extremely attractive option to several NFL teams with head coaching vacancies.
While he may not have landed the Jets or Chargers job he was digging around on last season, it seems like his name is buzzing with several NFL teams in this current cycle.
The Future Appears Bright With Saleh
On the surface, Saleh enjoyed a disappointing first season with the green and white finishing with a 4-13 record.
While that isn’t what anyone hoped for prior to this year, there is a lot of optimism that they’ll be able to turn this thing around sooner rather than later.
There are a few reasons for that.
The breadcrumbs are there from the season which featured upset wins over the Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans who are both in the NFL playoffs.
At the end of the season, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport revealed that the Jets had no intentions of moving on from Saleh after one year:
“There have been more than enough promising signs that [Saleh] isn’t in any trouble,” Rapoport said. The 42-year-old is someone the Jets “want to build around” and will return in 2022, per Rapoport.