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Daily Brews: Michigan AD Warde Manuel and Jim Harbaugh still working on extension

The staring contest continues between the guy who saved Michigan’s football program and the guy who thinks he did.

Illinois v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

In a recent interview with the Detroit Free Press, Warde Manuel — the athletic director of the Michigan Wolverines — was asked about head football coach Jim Harbaugh’s contract renegotiations.

Jim and I keep talking and will continue to talk — he’s in the second year of a five-year agreement, but we’ve had conversations about that. At the appropriate time, we’ll make an announcement, but he’s in a good place, he and I have had great conversations and so I feel good about where we are,“ Manuel said.

When pressed on a timetable, Manuel kept it short: “When we get anything finalized, y’all will know.”

All of this, as you may remember, comes on the back of Harbaugh once again flirting with a return to the NFL several months ago. Flirtations — or more aptly, “negotiation leverage” — created enough noise that Michigan’s new president Santa Ono had to step in and resolve the issue.

However, it is not resolved as Manuel and Harbaugh have still yet to come to new terms.

Harbaugh, currently in the second year of a five-year deal signed after the 2020 season, wants, and frankly deserves, more after back-to-back Big Ten titles, victories over Ohio State and College Football Playoff appearances.

Maybe the cheeseburger probe is causing Manuel to drag his feet, or maybe he just wants to play hardball. But whatever the justification, it is trivial at best when compared to what Harbaugh has done for the program and university.

At this point, why are we even surprised given Manuel’s track record? Under the previous university president Mark Schlissel (also known as ‘Lonely M’), Manuel had a longer leash to get away with these negotiation tactics because Schlissel merely tolerated athletics as a part of the university.

But under Ono, a passionate supporter of athletics, Manuel may be on a ticking clock. Pride comes before the fall, and if these terms are not agreed to before the season, Manuel’s tenure could come to an unceremonious end.