Grace Beal/Daily. Buy this photo.

Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh said in a statement Thursday afternoon that he expects to be “enthusiastically coaching” the Michigan football team in 2023, even amid a surge of rumors linking Harbaugh to the NFL. 

“I am aware of the rumors and speculation over the past few days,” Harbaugh said. “College and NFL teams have great interest in all our personnel, from players to coaches to staff, and I truly believe that is a testament to the strength of our University of Michigan football program. 

“As I stated in December, while no one knows what the future holds, I expect that I will be enthusiastically coaching Michigan in 2023. I have spoken with President Ono and Athletic director Warde Manuel and appreciate their support of me and our program. Our mission as Wolverines continues, and we are preparing for the 2023 season with great passion and enthusiasm. As our legendary coach Bo Schembechler said, ‘Those Who Stay Will be Champions.’ ”

Harbaugh ushered a similar statement on a conference call previewing the Fiesta Bowl Dec. 4, but his words felt hollow in recent days. On Monday, The Athletic reported that Harbaugh’s move to the NFL would be a “done deal” if he received a head coaching offer. According to reports, Harbaugh has met with the Carolina Panthers, while the Denver Broncos have already reached out to express their interest in conducting an interview. 

Last offseason, Harbaugh pursued a return to the NFL, even flying to Minnesota to hold an interview with the Vikings. After reaffirming his commitment to Michigan in February, Harbaugh told Manuel that the flirtation was a “one time thing” and wouldn’t be a yearly recurrence. 

Harbaugh has led Michigan to back-to-back Big Ten Championships and consecutive appearances in the College Football Playoff.