College football insider Bruce Feldman believes this could be Jim Harbaugh's last game with Michigan as he eyes escaping NCAA issues and returning to the NFL stage. (Maize & Blue Nation / Wikimedia)

Harbaugh’s Last Hurrah? Insider Claims Rose Bowl Game Could Be Michigan Coach’s Last

As Michigan prepares to face Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal, speculation surrounds coach Jim Harbaugh and whether he could leave for the NFL after the season.

Harbaugh has “flirted with the NFL the previous two offseasons,” noted insider Bruce Feldman on Tuesday.

Feldman believes that despite rumors of a lucrative contract extension from Michigan, it’s “much more likely that Jim Harbaugh is coaching his last game” in the playoff than Alabama legend Nick Saban retiring.

Harbaugh interviewed for NFL jobs the last two years amid tension with Michigan. He told Feldman this summer that many Wolverines will be drafted to the league soon.

“He told me when I saw him in the summer that they were going to break Georgia’s record and have 20 guys drafted off this team, and they’re going to have a lot of guys drafted off this team. The nucleus is going to move on to the NFL,” Harbaugh stated.

If Harbaugh does intend to jump back to the NFL where he previously coached the 49ers, now could be an opportune time. His stature in college football is high after three straight conference titles and playoff berths with Michigan.

Yet there are clouds on the horizon. Harbaugh was suspended three games by the Big Ten over the sign-stealing scandal.

He also faces possible NCAA sanctions for alleged recruiting violations during COVID-19 restrictions.

Some speculate leaving college now would allow Harbaugh to “ride off into the sunset and never deal with the NCAA again.”

Winning Michigan’s first national championship since 1997 would further cement his legacy before exiting for the NFL.

After repeated clashes with college football bureaucracy, Harbaugh may decide the pros’ biggest stage is more attractive.