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Pizza, Haircuts & A Glass of Milk: The Best Jim Harbaugh Stories From the 2024 Combine

JHC

Jim Harbaugh didn't take the podium last week at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine, instead choosing to focus on prospect interviews and on-field drills.

But the Chargers Head Coach still came up plenty of times during media sessions in Indianapolis.

With 18 Michigan players invited to the Combine — all of whom were coached by Harbaugh on the way to a national title this past season — how could he not?

With that came plenty of interesting accounts about Harbaugh through the words of his former players.

Here are the best ones we gleaned from our time in Indianapolis:

An in-home haircut

"How'd you hear about this?!"

That was Braiden McGregor's reaction when this story was brought up.

Back when McGregor was a high school senior, Harbaugh came to Port Huron, Michigan (located roughly 100 miles northeast of Ann Arbor) for an in-home visit.

Harbaugh, as McGregor recalled, decided was looking a little shaggy. So he got a haircut right on the spot.

"My mom is a hairstylist. He came in and we were sitting on the couch watching TV and kind of hanging out," McGregor said. "He looked at my mom out of nowhere and was like, 'You got your hair stuff here?'"

The back-and-forth went like this:

She was like, 'Yeah.'

He said, 'Can you give me a haircut?'

She was like, 'OK!'

McGregor laughed as he replayed the scene in his head.

"My in-home visit, I'm just sitting on the couch and I look over and my mom is cutting his hair. It was funny," McGregor said. "I don't think a lot of people have stories like that. It just shows what kind of guy he is. Down to Earth, doesn't care about names, he's just there to work."

He later added: "I have a video of it. I know my mom was nervous because this is Coach Harbaugh! He was going to be on TV the next week. He was excited. And he still asks me about it. It was just funny."

A whole pizza

Jim Harbaugh was hungry.

And when the chance came for him to eat while recruiting linebacker Michael Barrett, he did just that.

Barrett's mom ordered pizza when Harbaugh came to visit, never expecting the coach would wolf down an entire pie by himself.

"When he recruited me, he came on an official visit to my home. My mom had bought pizza, I think it three boxes we had," Barrett said. "He ate an entire box right there. He said, 'I've been flying all over the place and I'm kind of hungry.' He just ate a whole box."

Barrett said at the Combine that he has no doubt Harbaugh will succeed (again) with the Bolts.

"Just the kind of guy he is, the man he is, just down to Earth," Barrett said. "A player's coach … the kind of guy you want to play for. You can feel the love he has for the guys in the room."

Getting his gains

After a while, Kris Jenkins wasn't surprised Harbaugh's feats in the weight room.

"This is multiple memories because he'd do this all the time," Jenkins said. "But whenever we'd go work out — it could be 6 a.m. and we're working out as a team — he's always trying to get his gains in, too.

"He's in there working out in the khakis, in his polo, in a cap, in his Sperry's," Jenkins added. "He's getting his workout in and his gains."

The Michigan defensive lineman said at the Combine that Harbaugh's bench press wasn't a light one either.

"I want to say he had like 225 on the bar. He shocked us," Jenkins said. "But we were saying, 'Yeah, that's our coach!' He was getting after it."

The Los Angeles Chargers Wednesday agreed to terms with Jim Harbaugh as head coach

Recovery mode

If Harbaugh is going to put the work in, he's going to need to recover, too.

Josh Wallace saw it firsthand when he arrived to Michigan as a freshman.

"I've got a little story for you," the defensive back said last week in Indianapolis. "My first few weeks up at Michigan, we had summer workouts. You know Coach Harbaugh works out in the morning.

"I walk past our cold tub room — we call it the car wash — and he's in full uniform," Wallace said. "He's got his khakis and his polo in the ice tub. It was crazy."

A hearty meal

Jaylen Harrell pondered the question and tried to think of his best Harbaugh memory.

"Everybody wants a story," Harrell said. "He's just got so many."

The defensive lineman finally went with a simple, short and hearty quip on Harbaugh that sums up the coach's personality.

"He's big on a glass of milk and red meat," Harrell said.

Bring it in

As noted above, Michigan set a Combine record by having 18 prospects invited to Indianapolis.

With that many former players in attendance, Harbaugh was bound to run into some of them.

He made sure his interaction with wide receiver Cornelius Johnson was a memorable one.

"I was walking into the Westin Hotel to get my work in. As soon as I walked into the lobby, I bumped into Coach Harbaugh," Johnson said. "It was super funny to see him. I went to give him a little fist bump but he gave me a big hug.

"I was like, 'Oh, OK.' It was great to see him and catch up a little bit," Johnson added. "That Chargers polo was different than the Block M but it was nice to see him."

Different shade of blue, same Harbaugh.

Get a behind-the-scenes look as Jim Harbaugh is formally introduced as the head coach of the Los Angeles Chargers on February 1st, 2024

Trust from players

Harbaugh is a commanding presence and a coach who has built teams and programs into winners everywhere he's been.

And while the expectation is that he's going to do the same with the Chargers, former Michigan players gave great insight at the Combine on how Harbaugh develops a strong culture.

"Have you seen him? Have you seen the way he interacts with players? People buy into him and people love him," linebacker Junior Colson said.

Running back Blake Corum and cornerback Mike Sainristil said last week that Harbaugh went above and beyond for each of them while at Michigan.

"If you ever need anything, you can go to his office, sit down, and he'll tell you what it is," Corum said. "On the field, we'd get in these weeks where he'd say, 'I'm hot. I'm hot right now.' He's putting in new plays and stuff like that.

"So, he's hands on as well and I just love his enthusiasm, his presence on the field," Corum added. "You could feel it, you could feel his energy and how much he loved the game of football and that means a lot to us players. Playing for Coach Harbaugh the last four years, it was nothing but great."

Sainristil said: "Coach Harbaugh made a promise when I was being recruited that when my time at Michigan was done, I was going to be prepared for the next level. He kept that promise true, and that was through every experience on the field and off the field."

Harbaugh has been hard at work with the Bolts in recent weeks. He attended the Combine and will soon help navigate the Chargers through free agency and the draft.

And by the time the 2024 season rolls around, Chargers players are likely going to have some stories of their own to share.

"Every story is a great Harbaugh story," Colson said.

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