After being the subject of a secret interview for the New York Jets vacancy, Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News says of Stanford head coach Jim Harbaugh, “it appears he is telling the Stanford community one thing (‘I love this place and am going to stay’) while telling NFL teams another thing entirely (‘If you want to talk about a job, I’m interested’).”
(Athletic Director) Bob Bowlsby said he had not received a request from the Jets (or any other NFL team) for a Harbaugh interview. That’s not exactly great protocol. And what does Harbaugh (above) say about these reports? He was on campus Monday. But despite multiple requests, he again made himself unavailable for comment.
It’s no sin to be an ambitious coach. And if Harbaugh is using the NFL feelers as leverage to get more money from Bowlsby, that’s also not against the law. But a man should at least be up front about the situation, unless Harbaugh wants to be considered just another borderline greasy coach who talks out of both sides of his mouth.
Stanford doesn’t like greasy, either. Initially, the delay in reaching Harbaugh’s contract terms was explained by concerns about deferred compensation and a way to structure the deal so that Harbaugh’s base salary would not tick off the Nobel Prize winners on campus who take issue with making less than the football coach.
But in the past two weeks, one Stanford voice says, things have changed on Harbaugh’s side. Those things specifically include the numbers to the right of the dollar sign. Bowlsby is still negotiating ” and he’s not in position to strongarm anyone, after the sloppy way he handled the Trent Johnson basketball negotiations last spring, essentially allowing Johnson to slip away to LSU.
This might all work out fine. A Stanford recruit from San Diego named Tyler Gaffney visited Stanford last weekend along with two dozen other high school players. Gaffney told ESPN.com that Harbaugh confronted the NFL rumors head-on.
“He told us he had no interest and the NFL isn’t for him,” Gaffney said. “He did interview, but it was a while ago. … He said he just wanted to see what it was like. But he’s going to be signing his extension at Stanford in the next week and wants to stay for the long haul.”
If that is true, great. Harbaugh should come out of his cocoon and tell the jury the exact same thing. Because the longer he doesn’t, he looks like a guilty defendant.