Panthers owner Jim Harbaugh opened up about his work as a coach


CHARLOTTE, NC — Panthers owner David Tepper had a chat with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh about the opening Carolina will have for the head coaching job once the 2022 season ends. , according to a league source.

The conversation did not qualify as an interview, the source said.

Interviews won’t begin until after Carolina’s season ends (6-10) under interim coach Steve Wilks on Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Wilks, league sources say, is seen as a strong candidate for the full-time job after replacing Matt Rhule after a 1-4 start and putting Carolina in position to win the NFC South ahead of a week-long loss. 17 in Tampa Bay.

The conversation between Tepper and Harbaugh, whose team lost to TCU on Saturday in the college football playoff semifinals, was first reported by Queen City News, the Panthers’ broadcast partner.

Harbaugh has a “genuine interest” in working in Carolina, according to Queen City News.

Tepper said after firing Rhule, who had no NFL experience before getting the Panthers job in 2020 after stints at Baylor and Temple, he probably wouldn’t look to the college ranks for his next coach.

Harbaugh is different in that he is a former NFL quarterback and coach. In 2012, he coached the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl, where they lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens coached by his brother, John Harbaugh.

The 49ers returned to the NFC Championship Game in the 2013 playoffs under Harbaugh before losing to eventual Super Bowl champion Seattle 23-17.

After an 8-8 record in 2014, Harbaugh left to coach Michigan, where he had quarterbacked from 1982 to 1986 before becoming a Chicago Bears first-round draft pick in 1987.

Harbaugh’s career as an NFL player actually ended with Carolina in 2001. He was signed mid-season and dressed for six games, but never played down for the team. 1-15.

In February, Harbaugh signed a new five-year, $36.7 million contract with Michigan through 2026. This came two weeks after Harbaugh’s interview with the Minnesota Vikings.

According to his contract, Harbaugh has a $3 million buyout through Year 2, which begins Jan. 11.

Harbaugh indicated at a press conference for the Fiesta Bowl that he would return to Michigan, but added, “Nobody knows the future.”

Carolina plans to go through an extensive interview process beginning shortly after Sunday’s final. Even if Tepper decides to hire Wilks, who is black, he must interview two other minority candidates outside the organization under the guidelines of the NFL’s Rooney Rule.

Wilks was hired as coach of the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 but was fired after going 3-13. He then joined a lawsuit against the NFL and several teams for racial discrimination in its hiring practices.



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