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Michigan AD responds to report Jim Harbaugh is interested in NFL return

Former NFL receiver turned FS1 talking head Cris Carter has a good source on all things Urban Meyer in that it's Urban Meyer himself. Before he was catching touchdowns for the Minnesota Vikings, Carter was coached by Meyer at Ohio State, and the two have remained close over the years -- to the point where Carter refused to attend the Michigan-Ohio State game last month out of the legitimate (in his mind, at least) fear he was going to witness his friend die on the sideline.

But he's not the only coach in the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry that Carter claims close access to.

“Watch out for Jim Harbaugh,” Carter said. “Because Jim Harbaugh is potentially trying to get his way out of Michigan. I got good sources that are telling me not only Green Bay, but watch out for the Cleveland Browns. He likes their quarterback situation’s there, and I believe there are front office people in Green Bay who are enamored with Jim Harbaugh trying to get him to come to Green Bay.”

Michigan AD Warde Manuel was asked about Carter's comments by The Michigan Insiderand said this:

"I would say consider the source of the comment," Manuel said. "Cris is very accomplished in his life but he went to the school down South. We tend to throw out things like that, sources say, my sources, I haven't missed any sleep. Jim has not said anything to me about it, he's on the road recruiting putting in great effort. So, from my perspective, it has no validity at all. There's been zero conversations about it. I believe Jim is very happy here, he is working to continue to bring in great recruits here. Preparing to go down to the bowl game at the Peach Bowl and play a very good Florida team."

The reality of Harbaugh's tenure at Michigan (however long it lasts) is that the NFL rumors will always persist, for better or worse. If he succeeds, the story will be: "Harbaugh's accomplished everything he can and is ready to return to the NFL." If he doesn't, it'll be: "Harbaugh's frustrated and ready to return to the NFL." There is no outcome that will eliminate such rumors, not even longevity. Nick Saban-to-the-NFL rumors still pop up annually even in Year 12 in Tuscaloosa.

But since we're already here: the Peach Bowl is on Dec. 29. The NFL regular season concludes the following day. So, there's theoretically nothing stopping Harbaugh from coaching Michigan through the season and then leaving for Green Bay or Cleveland should he so desire -- and Cris Carter says he does indeed desire such an exit.