ESPN analyst Jim Trotter took a ton of heat last year from Michigan fans. That’s because he had the nerve to incite a Chicago Bears Jim Harbaugh connection. Here’s the context. In December of last season it was clear the team was going to finish with its worst record in decades. That put head coach John Fox squarely on the hot seat, ramping up speculation about a replacement.
Naturally Harbaugh would be a name to watch. He’d just come off a successful run with the San Francisco 49ers, making three NFC championships and a Super Bowl in four years. Most felt he had no desire to leave Michigan though, his alma mater. It was Trotter though that set social media on fire when he declared the Bears were his “dream job.”
“The Rams want a dynamic guy and they know in Los Angeles it’s all about entertainment,” Trotter said on SportsCenter. “Jim Harbaugh, from what I understand, the Rams is not a job he is looking at. If he were to come back to the NFL, from what I’ve been told, is that his dream job would be in Chicago where he started his playing career under Mike Ditka.
“People are going to take that as me saying he’s looking to leave Michigan, but I’m not saying that at all. If you know Jim Harbaugh the competitor, you’d know he has unfinished business with Ohio State having not beaten Urban Meyer yet. But from what I’ve been told, Chicago would be his NFL dream job.”
After almost a year of continued hammering from Wolverine fans for that statement, Trotter seems to have finally gotten some backup.
Bears Jim Harbaugh buzz gets another jolt
Fred Huebner has covered Chicago sports for the better part of three decades. He does radio for ESPN 1000 on the ‘Murph and Fred Show’. He recently spoke with former Bears defensive tackle Steve McMichael on the subject. “Mongo” insists the Harbaugh statement has lots of truth to it. The big obstacle is money.
People are correct that Harbaugh would likely not take the Bears job with a pay cut, but Mongo told me yesterday the Bears HC job is the dream job for Singletary, Frazier, Rivera, Harbaugh, all of them.
— Fred Huebner (@fred_huebner) November 13, 2017
It’s understandable. Harbaugh has quite the cushy job in Ann Arbor. He’s getting paid around $7 million a year. Not only that but his contract has a clause that states any time a new coach gets hired who makes more than him, Michigan must give him a raise to match. That’s a pretty sweet deal and hard to walk away from.
The top NFL head coaches right now are making at or just over $8 million. So the Bears would have to go a bit higher than that to secure his services. It’s difficult to imagine the McCaskey family doing that. Not only because of the money but also because of Harbaugh’s reputation. He’s known for being a bit combative in the work place. They might see him as another Ditka, something they’ve clearly tried to avoid for the past 25 years.
Still this is further smoke. It feels like only a matter of time before we see fire.