Michigan won't pursue Harbaugh

Michigan fires Rich Rodriguez, but athletic director believes Jim Harbaugh will go to the NFL. That's sweet music to the ears of the 49ers.

The news surrounding the firing of coach Rich Rodriguez at the University of Michigan had a distinctly sweet sound to the San Francisco 49ers.

It wasn't so much that Rodriguez was dismissed after three seasons and a cumulative 15-22 record. It was what athletic director Dave Brandon said about the possibility of offering the job to Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, who remains the 49ers' main target.

"I personally believe Jim Harbaugh is headed to the NFL," Brandon said Wednesday.

If so, that would remove one significant hurdle to the 49ers' pursuit of Harbaugh. The Denver Broncos and Miami Dolphins are also interested in the Cardinal coach, and Stanford athletic director Bob Bowlsby said a contract extension has been put in front of Harbaugh.

These things remain fluid. Oakland Raiders offensive coordinator Hue Jackson is expected to meet today with 49ers president and CEO Jed York at team headquarters, according to CSN Bay Area. Jackson is the frontrunner to succeed the fired Tom Cable with the Raiders, but he also meets the Rooney Rule requirement that teams interview at least one minority candidate.

Stay tuned. The 49ers and new general manager Trent Baalke know they must move with haste to get Harbaugh, who is likely to command $6 million a year and reportedly turned up his nose at a $5.2-million-a-year offer from Michigan.

Assuming they get the numbers in line and Harbaugh is ready to make a move to the NFL, something could happen soon.


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