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Harbaugh ‘absolutely’ want to stay with 49ers, but University of Texas job rumors persist

Jim Harbaugh has said all the right things since his name has come up in connection with the University of Texas head-coaching job. Harbaugh has said he "absolutely" wants to stay in San Francisco and is "absolutely" happy with the job he currently has, per ESPN.

But given the high-profile nature of the Longhorns job and the fact that Harbaugh cut his teeth coaching at the college level — and did so successfully at San Diego and Stanford — the rumors persist.

Plus, the university's eight-man panel to pick the coach is, at least, bound to cause more leaks (more talking heads talking to more media members) until this thing is resolved. And as we know, Texas has some of the deepest pockets around, even able to play with the NFL's big boys in terms of coaching salaries.

But an interesting rumor has swirled, courtesy of Pro Football Talk: The Niners, should Harbaugh choose to leave, would not stand in his way. For a variety of reasons: One, his contract apparently does not prevent him from going after a college job, and two, California labor laws might prevent the franchise from keeping him from leaving. It has less to do with the team's desire to keep him, apparently.

The good news for the 49ers is that they are taking Harbaugh at his public word and believe he wants to stay. He's in the third year of a five-year, $25 million contract that 49ers owner Jed York says he plans on trying to extend in the offseason. Harbaugh, for his part, has no reason to think that won't happen.

But as long as the Texas rumors persist, there will be speculation, keeping the door ever so slightly cracked.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!