The San Francisco 49ers have been in the headlines for off the field incidents this offseason. While there should not be any damage in the big picture to the roster, it still doesn't look good on the organization or coaching staff.
Jim Harbaugh was asked about the Seattle Seahawks potentially cheating with performance enhancing drugs back in June of last offseason during minicamp. Even though it doesn't relate to legal troubles off the field, the 49ers head coach had an image that he wants for the team.
"We want to be above reproach in everything, and do everything by the rules," Harbaugh said in June about cheating and PEDS. "Because if you cheat to win, then you’ve already lost, according to [my former coach at Michigan] Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about next to the word of God as you can get in my mind. It’s not the word of God, but it’s close."
Four 49ers players have been involved with the police or security in the offseason and all of them are from the 2011 49ers draft class.
Sixth-round pick Daniel Kilgore was arrested for public intoxication one week into the offseason after the 49ers lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the NFC Championship game. Third-round pick Chris Culliver was also arrested at the end of March for a hit and run and two misdemeanors. Both players have been released on bail since then.
While both players have received attention this offseason, only Culliver's case could be serious. He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Friday and his court date is set for May 14.
Colin Kaepernick is being investigated for a suspicious incident that happened in the beginning of April where it is unclear what happened to a woman in Miami, FL before she ended up in a hospital. The quarterback himself says the initial reports are not true. It is too early to make a judgment with Kaepernick as not enough information is released besides a police report which contains the woman's perspective.
Aldon Smith has become the largest problem off the field for the 49ers. From having a DUI in January 2012 to facing charges for possession of assault weapons in a house party incident from 2012, the 49ers linebacker has been all over place with the law.
During the 2013 season, Smith was arrested for a DUI prior to a Week 3 game against the Indianapolis Colts. After playing the game, he apologized to the team and took an indefinite absence from the team which included time in rehab. Smith spent six weeks away from the team, missing five games in the process before returning to play in Week 10.
The suspension was supposed to be the end of troubles for Smith in hopes to get himself back on track. While his most recent incident at LAX has not had charges yet, it still doesn't reflect what the team wants in him. Smith should not be uncooperative with the TSA agents while waiting in line at an airport, even if the bomb threat was a joke.
Several players have been above reproach for the team, but these actions off the field by a handful of 49ers are not a good image on the team.
On the field, a large deadline for Aldon Smith with the 49ers is on May 3, where the team can exercise a fifth-year option for him to go through 2015. He would have a $9.75 million price tag if they do so.
The legal matter for Smith will be complex when the court date on both his DUI and possession of assault weapons will happen on April 29. If he ends up being in trouble, the 49ers should be without him for a portion of the upcoming 2014 season.