SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Coach Jim Harbaugh has "definitely noticed" the string of performance-enhancing-drug suspensions that have hit the 49ers' chief division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks, over the past 18 months.
"It has no place in an athlete's body," Harbaugh said Tuesday of performance-enhancing drugs in general. "Play by the rules.
"You always want to be above reproach, especially when you're good, because you don't want people to come back and say, 'They're winning because they're cheating.'"
The Seahawks, who finished a half-game behind the 49ers in last season's NFC West standings, have had six players test positive for performance-enhancing substances since December 2011. Only cornerback Richard Sherman escaped a four-game suspension upon appeal.
Harbaugh, speaking at the start of the 49ers' three-day minicamp, did not chastise the Seahawks directly for the officially undisclosed violations.
"You don't know what it is," Harbaugh said of the drugs in question. "Even when people say what it is, you don't know that's what it is. But that's usually the agents of 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 someone at their word, and I don't know you can take them at their word, understanding the circumstances."
Sherman recently told ESPN The Magazine that "it does seem that way" when asked if the Seahawks have a PED problem. He's repeatedly denied taking Adderall.
Last month, defensive end Bruce Irvin became the latest Seahawks players to draw a PED suspension.
Linebacker Larry Grant, who played the past two seasons for the 49ers, drew a four-game suspension last month for violating the league's performance-enhancing drug policy. Grant is a free agent, and he's issued a statement claiming he did not knowingly take a banned substance.
STARTING QUARTERBACK Colin Kaepernick looked sharp in practice, from running some read-option plays to completing a back-corner pass in the end zone to Quinton Patton.
Offensive coordinator Greg Roman on Kaepernick: "He's light years ahead of where he was last year."
Added Harbaugh: "The great thing about Colin Kaepernick is the way he handles pressure. Some people don't handle it very well because they want to be in their comfort zone. Colin Kaepernick is somebody that thrives on it and embraces it."