Way back on December 6, we wrote of the contract extension offered by Stanford to Jim Harbaugh that "if he balks [at signing it], it's going to be the clearest sign possible that he's going to want to hear what [Michigan] (or NFL Team X) has to say."
It's now December 27, and not only has Harbaugh not signed the extension, he claims he hasn't even bothered to look at it :
“I haven’t even discussed it,” he told [the San Jose Mercury News] today.If you are Bowlsby or Stanford, there is only one response to that: Ouch.
That comment would seem to contradict what athletic director Bob Bowlsby said three weeks ago — that “Jim has indicated he plans to accept it.”
When I relayed Bowlsby’s comment to Harbaugh, he said: “Maybe he misspoke.”
Because it's highly doubtful that -- even if Bowlsby was exaggerating when he claimed that Harbaugh was close to accepting the extension -- that Harbaugh isn't even aware of what Stanford is offering. The contract is out there, and whether he's "discussed" it or not, Harbaugh knows it. He's just not interested in putting his name on it just yet.
It's entirely possible he still does at some later date, of course. But with not one but two possible-bordering-on-probable landing places for Harbaugh should he decide to bolt, in both his alma mater at Michigan and now the vacant San Francisco 49ers head coaching job, it's clearer than ever that Harbaugh's in no hurry to limit his options now.
For the time being, Bowlsby and the Cardinal are just going to have to grin about their Orange Bowl berth and bear it. The rumor mill is going to be circling The Farm for a while.