Harbaugh Reportedly Nixed The Deal To Go To Cleveland

Published on January 31st, 2024 5:15 pm EST
Written By: Dave Manuel

American football coach Jim Harbaugh during his time with the 49ers. Jim Harbaugh, who recently announced that he was returning to the NFL as the new head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers, was once very nearly traded to the Cleveland Browns.

Not as a player - but as a coach.

That's right - after the 2013 season, the Cleveland Browns pitched the San Francisco 49ers on trading them coach Jim Harbaugh.

The 49ers had just lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship after going 12-4 in the regular season.

Things were obviously going well in San Francisco, but there were rumblings that Harbaugh was too hard on his players.

The Cleveland Browns, however, thought that Harbaugh would have been perfect to lead the team, and they made the 49ers an offer.


We'll never know what the EXACT deal was, but it reportedly included at least a couple of first-round picks.

The deal must have interested the 49ers, as they didn't dismiss it without telling Coach Harbaugh.


Coach Harbaugh, however, wasn't interested.

In fact, he reportedly torpedoed the deal.

It's not hard to see why - the 49ers were a very good football team, as they had come within a whisker of winning the Super Bowl on multiple occasions.

Why accept a trade to Cleveland? The Browns and 49ers organizations would both receive something from the deal, but Harbaugh would be uprooted and have to move to a new team.

In addition, with the benefit of hindsight, we can see that perhaps Harbaugh's move to college football was already formulating in his brain, as he would leave to take over as the head coach of Michigan at the end of the 2014 season.


The 49ers have to have been a bit miffed that Harbaugh didn't accept the trade, as he left the following season anyways, and the 49ers didn't receive anything.

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