Rundown of Harbaugh Watch, Day 1

If the early reports are as accurate as a Tom Brady spiral, the 49ers are off to a decent start in The Quest for Jim Harbaugh.

Of the four other known bidders for Harbaugh’s services – the Broncos, Dolphins, Michigan and his current employer, Stanford – there is a report that Michigan, perceived to be an early favorite, is off the list.

A rundown:

• The Detroit Free Press, citing a person with “direct knowledge of Harbaugh’s thinking,” said Harbaugh would stay at Stanford if he decided to stay in college. The paper said it would take an “extreme change of heart” for Harbaugh to leave for his alma mater, which fired Rich Rodriguez today.

By the way, did Harbaugh really look like he was staying at Stanford as he ducked and dodged his way through post-Orange-Bowl questions about his future Monday night?

• It appears possible the Dolphins will retain Tony Sparano after back-to-back 7-9 seasons, but perhaps not if they can trade up. The NFL Network’s Jason LaCanfora reports the Dolphins have had “multiple conversations” with Harbaugh.

• The Broncos have set up an interview – with Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey. They are expected to meet Friday in Atlanta, according to ESPN.

• The Panthers – you know, Harbaugh to possibly pair with Andrew Luck? – evidently aren’t too interested. Carolina owner Jerry Richardson said today of Harbaugh being a candidate, “I’d be happy to talk to him. I had not thought about talking to him about a head coach.” From UPI.

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