49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

June 11, 2013
Harbaugh on PED use: Play by the rules

The rash of performance-enhancing drug suspensions in Seattle hasn't escaped the notice of 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh, who on Tuesday said his message to his own team is, "play by the rules."

"It has no place in an athlete's body," Harbaugh said. "Play by the rules, and you always want to be above reproach, especially when you're good. Because you don't want people to come back and say, 'Oh, they're winning because they're cheating.' That's always going be a knee-jerk reaction by people in my experience ever since I was little kid.

"So we want to be above reproach in everything," he continued. " ... Because if you cheat to win, then you've already lost, according to Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about as close to the word of God as you can get in my mind. It's not the word of God, but it's close."

Five Seahawks have been suspended for PED use since 2011, most recently 2012 first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin. Adderall, a stimulant prescribed mainly for attention deficit disorder, reportedly has been the culprit in Seattle, though Harbaugh said no one could be sure.

"You don't know what it is," he said. "Even when people say what it is, you don't know that that's what it is. I've heard this thrown out or that, but that's usually the agent or the players themselves saying it's, for example, Adderall.  But the NFL doesn't release what it actually is, so you have no idea.  You're taking somebody at their word that I don't know if you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances."

One 49er, linebacker Larry Grant, tested positive for PEDs and has been suspended the first four games of the season. Grant currently is a free agent.

-- Matt Barrows



MATTHEW BARROWS

Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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