Jim Harbaugh had himself a busy day with the media on Friday. The team had plenty of injuries to deal with, and of course Aldon Smith's DUI news was making the rounds. Harbaugh addressed all of that with some interesting comments.
Harbaugh said that he "anticipated" Smith would play on Sunday. He said that any discipline was generally pretty exclusive to the league. Someone brought up Demarcus Dobbs' suspension and how he was ruled out on Friday, but the 49ers were not quite so clear cut on Smith (this was before he confirmed anticipating Smith would play). Harbaugh said something about Dobbs not being there when the team left for St. Louis. I don't really know what that means.
I'm not quite sure what to make of this before we know if the team decides to deactivate Aldon Smith. It leaves me questioning Harbaugh and his comments about the 49ers wanting to be above reproach. Those comments were made in regards to the Seahawks Adderall suspensions. While he was focused on the notion of cheating, this is applicable to every aspect of life for these players.
According to Carlos Rogers, before Friday practice, Harbaugh spoke with the players about "being the type of person that you should be, on and off the field."
We don't know what Harbaugh will do come Sunday when fills out the game day inactives, but given Dobbs' situation last year and Aldon's situation this year, it's an interesting thing to follow. We don't know everything that has gone down with both situations, but even still, Harbaugh wants the team appearing above reproach.
Can you fill us in on LB Aldon Smith's status for Sunday's game?
"The task today was to go have a great practice. The task on Sunday will be for us to go get a win, beat the Colts. And we'll make those decisions."
Have you spoken to Aldon about the incident this morning?
Are you satisfied with what he had to say?
"I mean disappointed and I felt like he needs to go to work, face his teammates and soldier through it."
Any discipline will be handed out through you guys in terms of whether he plays or not or is this going to be a league matter?
"That's pretty exclusive to the league, well it is. They have exclusive rights to the consequences and there will be consequences. There always is. Good or bad, we all have consequences."
Last year TE/DT Demarcus Dobbs was involved in a similar incident and didn't make the trip with you guys to St. Louis. Why react to that situation that way and then leave this one up in the air?
"I'm not really leaving it up in the air. There's nothing up in the air about it. Demarcus wasn't here when we left last year for St. Louis."
If Aldon doesn't play, who's likely to fill his place?
"You know the guys we have on our team. Not to leave it up in the air. I expect Aldon, like today, to be back to work and playing on Sunday."
A lot of these guys coming out of school, especially, they don't have a lot of guidance in their lives, so they don't know how to avoid trouble like this. What do you as a coach say to them? How do you work with them? How do you try to convince them to keep their heads screwed on straight?
"Those things, not going to address how we, what our policy is, or how, as it relates right now. These two things, we'll deal with it."
How did he do in practice today? Did he seem focused?
"Yeah, he seemed like he had his wits about him."
Just to be clear, did you say he would play on Sunday?
"I anticipate that, yes."
What's more concerning, the DUI or the marijuana?
"I don't know what you're referring to with the marijuana."
The cops found marijuana in his car.
"I wasn't aware of that."
With the situation at hand, is there anyone that you advise to players when they come across certain situations like this, when there's more than one incident, that he can talk to on a regular basis or if he feels like he might need to reach out to someone? Will the organization provide that?
"Yes, the organization does provide that. And just like I said earlier, I'm not going to dissect it exactly what we, what the policies are and what the team has in place as it relates to this situation."
You said you wanted him to get back to work after talking. Was that his suggestion that he wanted to get out on the practice field or was that something that you encouraged him to do?
"I encouraged it."
You said it was disappointing, can you just expand on that a little bit?
"No. No I'm not going to really, like I said, I'm not going to dissect it or expand on it."
Did Aldon address his teammates?
"Again, the conversations, what existed, what the details were, the specifics, we're not publicly sharing that right now."
Did he say he was on his way to the facility when the incident happened?
"Again, and again, I'm not going to go into the specifics and the details."
In terms of what the league, you said the league has exclusivity over this whether to suspend him or not. Is that something that you're not expecting them to do, they would hand out a suspension last minute before the game? That as far as you know he's going to be cleared to play Sunday, any possible suspension might come afterwards?
"I think it's pretty clear what the policies are with the National Football League, Collective Bargaining Agreement, there's a process. We'll respect that."
Just going back to last season, Demarcus Dobbs could have taken a later flight.
"Matt already went into that."
You guys hadn't left when it happened.
"Like I said, I'm not going into the specifics and the dissecting of what the policies are. If you want to question those, so be it."
Don't you guys have digression to do your own discipline? It's not only up to the league. The team can do its own discipline.
"There's a process there when it comes to suspensions and fining, discipline. That is the exclusivity of the league."
Just to clarify the Dobbs point, you guys flew out Friday?
"We clarified that."
But you flew out on Friday before the game to St. Louis?
Speaking of fines, T Anthony Davis was the only one to get one today in terms of the Seattle game. Is that surprising, disappointing? What's your reaction to that?
"Per league instructions, that's, I'm not going to comment on that."
Where does S Eric Reid stand as far as going through the protocol?
"He's got to go through another test today. If that goes well he'll be cleared tomorrow."
Is that the contact test?
How were you contacted about this incident this morning?
"I don't think that there's anything more that's relevant at this time, that at least I feel is relevant. And I don't feel that's relevant."
Is it times like this you kind of feel like a frustrated father? Here are your kids doing their thing and then someone gets in trouble. What's that like for you as a head coach?
"Like I said, I really don't want to dive into any more of the details about it. I understand that you want to continue to plow the ground. I feel like the ground's been plowed for now."
How is the status of TE Vernon Davis?
Aldon was on the injury report with a back issue this week. Did that aggravate it? How's he feeling physically?
"He practiced today."
"I'll let the trainers fill that out."
DT Ray McDonald was back at practice. Do you anticipate he'll be able to play?
"Yeah, again, day-to-day. That's more of a game-time decision now."
What's it going to be like going up against Colts QB Andrew Luck?
"It's a big challenge. It's the third week in a row we've faced a top-notch quarterback and our guys know the challenge, the task at hand, and that's what the team's focusing on right now. The immediate task at hand, which is have a great practice today and put ourselves in a position to win on Sunday."
Would you term Vernon a game-time decision as well?