San Francisco 49ers

Reports: Harbaugh heading back to University of Michigan

Jim Harbaugh has done everything but sign on the dotted line with the University of Michigan, according to a slew of reports.
Jim Harbaugh has done everything but sign on the dotted line with the University of Michigan, according to a slew of reports. The Bee

The pitter patter of reports that Jim Harbaugh is leaving the NFL to coach at his alma mater, the University of Michigan, became a deluge Saturday night and Sunday morning.

The most specific report came from longtime Harbaugh friend, CSN's Dave Feldman, who said that the hire would be announced at a Tuesday press conference in Ann Arbor, Mich. Feldman and Harbaugh were classmates at Palo Alto High.

Still, other national reports noted that a deal is still not finalized and that NFL teams, particularly the Raiders, are eager to make their pitch to the 49ers' head coach. The Jets and Bears also may have interest in hiring Harbaugh.

Because Michigan is not bound by the NFL's anti-tampering rules, it has been able to court Harbaugh aggressively while he's remained the head coach of the 49ers. They reportedly have offered him a six-year contract worth as much as $49 million, much higher than the $5 million per year he is making with San Francisco.

Michigan officials are in the Bay Area this weekend to formally present Harbaugh with their offer.

Harbaugh remains under contract with the 49ers. If a Tuesday press conference has been planned at Michigan, it means that Harbaugh will resign from the 49ers and that they won't owe him the $5 million remaining on his deal.

Harbaugh will coach Sunday's season finale against the the Arizona Cardinals. He held a team meeting Saturday night in which he thanked his players for the season.

After the meeting, right tackle Anthony Davis wrote on Twitter: “I just looked Harbaugh in his eyes and thanked him for leading us to some of the best times of our lives. Give Respect when it’s Due.”

Harbaugh has avoided all talk of his future, insisting he was concentrating on the finale against the Cardinals. He is believed to want to get through “getaway day” -- when he meets with players after the season -- on Monday. He is expected to meet with 49ers officials to discuss his departure either tonight or Monday morning before players arrive.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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