Jim Harbaugh was in a charitable mood Thursday, ending his team's final practice of the spring 35 minutes early and then handing out 59 congratulatory certificates to the players who achieved perfect attendance during the 49ers' offseason program.
His parting message to his players, however, was a serious one.
“Beware with whom you associate,” Harbaugh later told reporters. “Very important to know your surroundings. Friend or foe? And there always seems to be a foe present, so get in a good football position and be ready for anything that’s coming at you. And be able to see around corners and see under doors, anticipate. Mainly, surround yourself with good people.”
The 49ers have been involved in a number of police-blotter incidents in recent seasons, including during the current month-long break between minicamp and training camp, which for veterans begins on July 23.
Two years ago, Aldon Smith was stabbed at a house party east of San Jose that grew out-of-control when gang members got into a shootout. After authorities arrived, they found three semi-automatic rifles in Smith's bedroom. He faces a sentencing hearing based on those gun charges, as well as a September DUI arrest, on July 25.
Last year, the local district attorney's office investigated an incident in which the 49ers' other starting outside linebacker, Ahmad Brooks, was accused of hitting a teammate over the head with a beer bottle. The investigation turned up enough mitigating evidence that the district attorney's office felt it couldn't get a conviction, and Brooks never was charged.
Other incidents can be attributed to the 49ers keeping dubious company.
Earlier this month, investigators concluded that no crime had occurred in Miami after a woman went to police claiming she had mysteriously blacked out and didn't know if she had been sexually assaulted in a hotel suite belonging to Colin Kaepernick.
It turned out that Kaepernick quickly had left the suite after the woman began acting strangely and that the two men left behind, receivers Quinton Patton and Ricardo Lockette, called police and hotel security to have the woman removed. The woman knew Kaepernick and Lockette from Atlanta, where they trained in 2013.
Asked if he was now more cautious about the company he keeps, Kaepernick said, “A lot more.”
“Since I’ve really started playing, it’s something I’ve been more aware of, and especially in the past few months, it’s something obviously you have to be very aware of,” he said.