Vikings target Jim Harbaugh explains why he’s staying at Michigan, says he’s chased the NFL for the last time

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All signs pointed towards Jim Harbaugh being hired as the new head coach of the Minnesota Vikings. Not only did he leave his Michigan Wolverines to interview for another job on National Signing Day, but reports said that his official interview with the Vikings was just a “formality” before he put pen to paper. Instead, Harbaugh told The Associated Press on Wednesday he was returning to Michigan, “With an enthusiasm unknown to mankind!”

So, what happened? According to Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press, somewhere in the interview process Harbaugh got a sinking feeling. The former San Francisco 49ers coach said the Vikings were “a first-class operation” and “first-class people,” but apparently they were not matching his enthusiasm. When Harbaugh called Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel to alert him he was returning, he told him that this NFL flirtation was a “one-time thing.”

Harbaugh spent 2011-14 as the head coach of the 49ers, and went an impressive 44-19-1. He made the NFC Championship game in three straight seasons, but left the franchise following an 8-8 campaign in 2014. While Harbaugh is coming off of his most successful season at Michigan, he still felt that attraction to the NFL. 

“There was a tugging at me that I was once that close to a Super Bowl and I didn’t get it,” said Harbaugh. “Some NFL jobs came open. I was contacted by the Vikings.

“For better or for worse, it was something I wanted to explore. I went in thinking, ‘I’m gonna have 100 percent conviction on this, and if they (Minnesota) have 100 percent conviction on this, then it’s something I’m gonna do.'”

Harbaugh was able to go out and explore his options. Now, he sounds more committed to Michigan than he ever has been. 

“In a nutshell, I love Michigan,” Harbaugh said. “I love every player. I love every family.”



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