It has been quite a busy day of NFL news. Considering it's game day, I suppose this should not be surprising. The big news was Ian Rapoport's report on NFL Network that there are some questions of dissent in the 49ers locker room. Here is a quick rundown of his tweets:
#49ers coach Jim Harbaugh irked some veterans by taking the team to Baltimore for days to practice against his brother. Just 1 example— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2014
#49ers & coach Jim Harbaugh weren’t able to strike a new deal on a contract this offseason. Fair to wonder: Is this his last year in SF?— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2014
On #49ers coach Jim Harbaugh: He knows about the grumbling in the locker room. He’s trying to appeal to his guys, especially the last week— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 7, 2014
Matt Barrows followed up with this:
It is not surprising that there is some tension. Who knows how much there might be, but Harbaugh is a coach who seems to live on the edge. The complaints about the Baltimore practice seem kind of weak considering the team was already out there.
This was not the only news of the day. Rather than just have stand-alone Harbaugh nonsense, I figured I would work in a couple more things.
Josh Gordon rumors
CBS had a report this morning that the 49ers and Browns were talking Gordon trade last year, but Jimmy Haslam shut it down. This is not shocking considering all the rumors that were flying. Given that Gordon has subsequently been suspended for the year, I'd say it's probably a good thing a deal never got sorted out.
Speaking of Gordon's suspension.....
The NFL and NFLPA have been busy the last month trying to hammer out a new drug policy. The potential deal would include higher levels for marijuana tests, and MDMA ("Molly") would move from performance enhancing to substance abuse. The changes would seemingly result in fewer suspensions.
One area of negotiation that would have the most immediate impact concerns retroactive changes. There is some talk that the two sides have considered applying the new policy to some previous punishments. This could include players like Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon. Scandrick reportedly tested positive for MDMA, and if moved to substance abuse, he potentially would not have been suspended. Gordon tested positive for marijuana, but his test reportedly was just barely above the current limit, and would not have popped positive under the new system.
It was unlikely that the policy would change in time for Scandrick to play on Sunday, but the potential changes are still noteworthy. For now, the Cowboys are left without arguably their best cornerback. We'll see how the 49ers attack this weakened unit.
For those wondering, the new policy's retroactive application would likely have no bearing on Aldon Smith's suspension. His was for DUI. There is talk of the NFL wanting to impose discipline before the legal process is complete, but that's not an issue in the case of Aldon Smith.