It remains to be seen if Jim Harbaugh will leap back into the NFL ranks in 2022, but while the world continues to wonder about his status, his defensive coordinator has already made the decision. Mike Macdonald, the assistant coach who schemed a University of Michigan defense that helped lead the team to a Big Ten title in 2021, has officially finalized a deal that will make him the defensive coordinator for the Baltimore Ravens -- the team announced -- relocating Macdonald from the ranks of one Harbaugh to another.
Macdonald replaces longtime defensive coordinator Don "Wink" Martindale, whom the Ravens recently parted ways with.
It's not simply a return to the NFL for Macdonald, but a reunion with the Ravens specifically, seeing as his first crack at coaching in the league came by way as an intern for the Ravens in 2014 before being promoted to defensive assistant one year later and, in 2017, to defensive backs coach before taking on the role of linebackers coach for the next three seasons to follow.
Former first-round pick Patrick Queen, among others, approve of the hiring.
In 2021, Macdonald said goodbye (for the moment) to John Harbaugh and the Ravens for a promotion to defensive coordinator under Jim Harbaugh in Michigan -- a move that also led to the latter being named AP College Football Coach of the Year. Under Macdonald, the Wolverines defense improved drastically in all major categories, also leaping from 106th in the country in defensive efficiency to 13th-overall, according to ESPN's 2021 Football Power Index.
As he readies to remarry the Ravens and try his hand at coordinating his own NFL defense for the first time, Macdonald brings a wealth of knowledge on that side of the ball as well as being an instant fit in the Ravens culture. He'll have big shoes to fill following the divorce from Martindale, but all signs point to Macdonald being up to the task.