Falcons add Jim Harbaugh to interview list

A day after interviewing with the Los Angeles Chargers, Jim Harbaugh spoke with the Atlanta Falcons about their head-coaching vacancy on Tuesday.

The Falcons announced that Harbaugh, fresh off leading Michigan to the College Football Playoff championship, was the seventh person they interviewed in the search for Arthur Smith’s replacement. That list includes five NFL assistant coaches plus former New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Harbaugh is also in discussions with Michigan regarding a contract extension but is seeking unique wording in the deal, Yahoo Sports reported on Tuesday. Per the report, Harbaugh would want a clause preventing him from being fired for cause if the NCAA wins up sanctioning the program for rules violations related to ongoing investigations.

Harbaugh served two three-game suspensions during the Wolverines’ title season, the second related to alleged impermissible sign-stealing.

Before taking over as head coach at Michigan, his alma mater, in 2015, Harbaugh spent four years in the NFL as head coach of the 49ers. He logged a 44-19-1 mark in San Francisco, leading the 49ers to the Super Bowl after the 2012 season.

He has an 86-25 mark as Michigan’s head coach, guiding the Wolverines to Big Ten championships and berths in the College Football Playoff in each of the past three seasons.

Prior to his time in San Francisco, Harbaugh coached the University of San Diego from 2004 to 2006, logging a 29-6 mark, and Stanford from 2007 to 2010, producing a 29-21 record.

The other candidates who have interviewed with the Falcons are Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald and assistant head coach/defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Brian Callahan, 49ers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks and Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

Of those five, only Wilks has NFL head-coaching experience, having gone 3-13 with the Arizona Cardinals in 2018 and 6-6 as interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers in 2022.

Belichick recently parted ways with the Patriots after 24 seasons, nine Super Bowl appearances and six championships.