As Broncos CEO Greg Penner continued conversations with potential coaching candidates over the past week, he worked back to one of the most prominent on Denver’s initial list.
Penner met with Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh in Ann Arbor in the middle of the week, sources confirmed to The Post on Saturday evening. ESPN first reported the meeting.
The meeting, sources said, did not result in a job offer for Harbaugh, who still is expected to remain at Michigan. Denver’s first meeting with Harbaugh was conducted virtually, while the Broncos’ other seven candidates met with the search committee in person.
That meeting is noteworthy, though, in that it came well after Harbaugh and Michigan president Santa Ono announced publicly that the eighth-year head coach had considered NFL opportunities but decided to return to UM for the 2023 season.
As the week progressed, San Francisco defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans emerged as a top candidate in Denver’s search.
Ryans is also a top candidate for the Houston Texans and is reportedly set to meet with that franchise sometime in the days following Sunday’s NFC Championship game between San Francisco and Philadelphia.
Harbaugh, of course, took San Francisco to the NFC Championship Game three times and the Super Bowl once in his four seasons as the 49ers coach between 2011-14.
Harbaugh also considered a return to the NFL a year ago when he interviewed for the Minnesota Vikings job, but did not get an offer during his trip to Minneapolis and returned to Michigan. Then he put together a 13-0 start to the 2022 season before the Wolverines lost to TCU in the College Football Playoffs semifinal round. The Wolverines are 25-3 over the past two seasons, won the Big Ten both years and also knocked off rival Ohio State in consecutive matchups.
Broncos defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero worked for Harbaugh all four years he was in San Francisco and had high praise for his work late in Denver’s season.
“A lot of respect for him. I really enjoyed my time with him,” Evero said. “He’s a player’s coach, he’s a coach’s coach. I think the thing about him is he’s going to impress change on people. Wherever he goes, he’s going to affect change. I don’t know if everyone will always like it, but that’s his personality. I just think he’s a heck of a coach. I really enjoyed my time with him and he does a good job.”
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