Jim Harbaugh is heading back to the NFL after accepting the head coaching job of the Los Angeles Chargers on Wednesday, according to multiple reports.
The Chargers’ pursuit of Harbaugh has been heating up in recent days as NFL Network previously reported them reaching the final stages of a deal.
After nine years as the Michigan Wolverines head coach, where he most recently won a national title, Harbaugh is headed back to the West Coast to lead a Chargers team that went 5-12 during the 2023 regular season.
The Chargers didn’t make it official yet, but their latest social media post points to something being done after they posted a chimney billowing smoke.
It’s a signal that one of the biggest names in the head coaching market has landed.
NFL Network reported on Tuesday the Chargers were “in the zone where something can happen” soon. The Chargers’ deal to Harbaugh was expected to be an “extremely strong” financial offer.
The Chargers weren’t the only team to interview Harbaugh for their head coach vacancy. The Atlanta Falcons brought him in for an initial interview and reportedly wanted him back for a second interview, but the Chargers clearly wanted to lock him in for 2024 and beyond.
CHARGERS’ PURSUIT OF JIM HARBAUGH ADVANCING TO FINAL STAGES: REPORT
Harbaugh was among the top head coaching candidates that included Bill Belichick and Mike Vrabel.
However, Harbaugh had been speculated to be the next head coach of the Chargers since Brandon Staley was let go after a lackluster season without a playoff berth.
This isn’t the first time in recent years that Harbaugh was interested in a potential return to the NFL. He had serious talks with the Minnesota Vikings two years ago before Kevin O’Connell was hired as head coach.
Last year, the Denver Broncos also entered talks with Harbaugh before Sean Payton was their choice.
The Chargers, a team desperate for a turnaround after a star-studded roster underperformed this past season, now gets a head coach with a winning pedigree at both levels.
It’s also a team Harbaugh knows well, having played the final two years of his NFL career with the team in San Diego from 1999 to 2000.
Harbaugh is coming off a national title season with the Wolverines, winning the university’s first championship since 1997. But there are NCAA investigations ongoing into Harbaugh and the Michigan program, which led some to believe he would return to the NFL to avoid complications the investigations could cause.
Harbaugh previously served as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach, going 44-19-1 from 2011 to 2014 before heading to his alma mater.
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