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Gophers’ P.J. Fleck reportedly on radar of at least one NFL team for head coaching job

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Minnesota
Nov 30, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Golden Gophers head coach P.J. Fleck watches game action during the first half against the Wisconsin Badgers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The Gophers’ P.J. Fleck appears to be on the radar of at least one NFL team that’s looking for a head coach.

Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported that 40-year-old Fleck is among a handful of college coaches who are drawing interest from teams. The Lions, Falcons and Texans have begun their search for a head coach and the Jaguars and Jets are expected to soon join that list.

Fleck spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers — the wide receiver spent his second year on injured reserve — before going into coaching. He was the wide receivers coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2012 before becoming head coach at Western Michigan. His success at Western Michigan landed him the Gophers job.

As far as what it would take for Fleck to get out of his contract at the University of Minnesota, his buyout reportedly drops to $4.5 million in 2021, after being as high as $10 million. Fleck is currently signed through 2026.

The Gophers finished a disappointing 3-4 in the recently completed pandemic-shortened season, but were 11-2 (7-2 in the Big Ten) and beat Auburn in the Outback Bowl last season. Fleck has been at Minnesota for four years after spending four at Western Michigan.