Before the 49ers broke for a seven-week vacation last month, coach Jim Harbaugh held up a sign in front of the team. On it were a list of players who had run afoul of the law during that seven-week period in the past. The message: Be on your best behavior.
"You don't really want to be a guy that's on that list, especially for a team that has high goals and aspirations like the San Francisco 49ers," safety Donte Whitner said this week. "... You don't want to be a team distraction. You don't want to be a distraction to yourself. That's why we've been so under-the-radar."
Whitner was being interviewed by the Tuesday Morning Football podcast in the United Kingdom where he and other players are doing a media tour in advance of the NFL games there this season. The 49ers play the host Jaguars in London on Oct. 27. He was answering a question about why the 49ers have managed to stay under the radar in recent years.
Whether the 49ers have accomplished that is highly debatable. Linebacker Aldon Smith alone has been in the police blotters three times since January 2012 and three different 49ers have been arrested for driving under the influence in that span. One of them, defensive end Demarcus Dobbs, ran off the road and crashed his car in December.
Meanwhile, Smith's counterpart at outside linebacker, Ahmad Brooks, is under investigation for allegedly assaulting teammate Lamar Divens with a beer bottle in June. No charges have been filed, but the Santa Clara District Attorney's office continues to gather information related to the case. The incident also is being reviewed by Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has the authority to punish Brooks, including with a suspension.
-- Matt Barrows