Report: Panthers owner talks to Jim Harbaugh about HC job

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper has talked to University of Michigan head football coach Jim Harbaugh about the team’s head coaching position, according to a person familiar with the situation.

The person characterized the meeting as a conversation, not an interview. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team does not typically release details of its coaching search.

Charlotte Sports Live was first to report the conversation.

The Panthers’ head coaching search is expected to begin in earnest in the coming weeks.

Carolina (6-10) was eliminated from playoff contention on Sunday following a 30-24 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Steve Wilks has been serving as interim head coach after Matt Rhule was fired in the middle of his third season as head coach. The Panthers are 5-6 under Wilks.

Carolina is required to interview at least two minority candidates in person, and those can’t come until after the wild-card weekend if those coaches are employed by another NFL team.

Harbaugh has had success coaching at the NFL and college levels.

He coached the San Francisco 49ers from 2011-2014, winning two NFC West titles and reaching the NFC championship game three times in four seasons. He was 44-19-1 during that span and helped the 49ers get to Super Bowl 47, where they lost 34-31 to the Baltimore Ravens.

He left the 49ers after going 8-8 in 2014 – the only season the 49ers didn’t make the postseason under his direction – to take the job at Michigan.

The 59-year-old Harbaugh has spent the past eight seasons coaching the Wolverines, compiling a 74-25 record. Michigan was 13-0 this season before getting upset this past weekend by TCU in the College Football Playoffs.

Harbaugh also spent four seasons as head coach of Stanford and three more at San Diego.

He was the AP NFL Coach of the Year in 2011 and AP College Coach of the Year in 2021.

He spent 15 seasons as an NFL quarterback, wrapping up his career with a short stint with the Panthers in 2001, although he didn’t play.

The Panthers, who have failed to reach the playoffs the past five seasons, wrap up the season Sunday at New Orleans.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.