The latest rumor — and this is a delicious one — has Jim Harbaugh leaving the 49ers to coach another pro team, the Longhorns of the University of Texas.
How serious do we take this rumor which, so far, has the body weight of a robin's feather?
Word was that Texas coach Mack Brown would resign. Then word was he wouldn't resign. And now he has resigned as in you're outta here.
That opens up all kinds of possibilities Harbaughwise, as sports people like to say. The big possibility is the pay, said to be $10 million a year for a decade for the coach/educator who takes over the now coachless Texas football program.
Ten big ones is highly big. And understand this. People like money. Harbaugh currently earns $5 million per annum and that means he and Mrs. Harbs don't need to save Coke bottles and return them to Safeway for the nickel deposit, and you hardly expect to see Harbaugh looking through trash cans for discarded treasure. But he's a competitive guy. And doubling his salary would be sweet.
When I was growing up, I used to hear radio ads for this store in New Jersey and the guy would yell, "Money talks. Nobody walks."
We all can agree money talks. And maybe Harbaugh is thinking about walking.
I have read from various pundits (have you ever met a pundit?) Harbaugh won't leave the Niners for the Longhorns because he wants to win a Super Bowl, he's competitive with his brother John, he'd never leave the NFL because he's an NFL guy, yadda yadda.
Me, I don't have the slightest idea what Harbaugh wants. And I sure don't know how he thinks. Sometimes people ask me how Harbaugh thinks and I reply,
"That's like asking how a dolphin thinks. You got me stumped."
I do know this. Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee opened a recent Harbaugh presser by asking, "So, when do you leave for Austin, Texas?" To which Harbaugh shot back, "Are you trying to be funny?"
Ooh, an arrow to the heart. Shot down in plain sight. Notice Harbaugh did not answer Barrows' question. He shot down the guy. As someone who's been shot down a million times, I know the difference between an answer and an arrow to the heart.
Let's mosey over to the world of reality and ask, "Why are we even having this discussion?"
After last season, the 49ers and Harbaugh held contract-extension talks to add two years and more money to Harbaugh's five-year deal. Did you know that? It is difficult to know what goes on behind closed doors at 49ers Central, as hard to know as the comings and goings inside the former Soviet Union. Sports Illustrated is reporting those top-secret negotiations took place between Harbaugh and Niners' brass.
The negotiations amounted to nothing at the time, SI wrote. The talks broke off for unclear reasons. But they will be revived at a date to be named later. Just recently, Jed York told reporters, "Now is not the time. I fully expect to sit down at the end of the season and see where we go from here."