SANTA CLARA -- Aldon Smith remains in good standing with the 49ers despite pleading no contest to possessing assault weapons and driving under the influence, coach Jim Harbaugh said Friday.
"Yes, he's coming to work, showing up," Harbaugh said. "He's working hard, he's listening, he's doing what he says he's going to do. We give him that opportunity, yes."
The 49ers are in the midst of their offseason training program, and Friday marked the start of a three-day minicamp for rookies and others with no game experience.
Harbaugh would not speculate on Smith's availability for the start of training camp, which comes two days before his July 25 sentencing in Santa Clara County Superior Court.
Harbaugh also declined to say if Smith remains a starter at outside linebacker, where he's racked up 42 sacks in 43 regular-season games. "We're too early to tell who the starters are right now," Harbaugh said.
A year ago, Harbaugh said he wanted his team to be above reproach, and while he maintains that position, he acknowledged that some players have work to do. "No, we've got some things we've got to resolve," Harbaugh said. "But we are in a process -- and always are in process -- of striving to be above reproach? Yes."
Smith could be facing a suspension from the league or team as a result of his off-field issues, including an April arrest at Los Angeles International Airport for suspicion of making a false bomb threat. Kory Faulkner, an undrafted free agent from Southern Illinois, is the lone quarterback in the 49ers' rookie minicamp, but he's among four on the roster looking to back up Colin Kaepernick. "Kaepernick's been great," Faulkner said. "He's focusing and working as hard as ever. He's told me, 'If you need help, just let me know.' "
Harbaugh, meanwhile, is impressed by what he's seen lately from Faulkner, whom he first saw at Northwestern's pro day in March. "He was seen taking drops in the hallway of the (team) hotel the last couple days," Harbaugh said with a laugh. "He's really diligent, he's really into it, he's very conscientious, and it shows up when he comes out here." Defensive back Jimmie Ward, the 49ers' first-round draft pick, will be restricted to individual drills this minicamp because of foot surgery in March. Harbaugh expects him fully healthy by the start of training camp. Running back Marcus Lattimore is coping with a minor injury not related to his surgically repaired right knee, Harbaugh said. Tailback and return specialist LaMichael James participated this week in the offseason program, which he missed the start of while training in his native Texas. Marcus Martin, a third-round pick out of USC, is in an "understudy" role at center and guard, Harbaugh said. Guard Brandon Thomas, a third-round pick recovering from knee surgery, became the 10th draft choice to sign from the 12-man class. Wide receiver Jerry Rice Jr. said "everyone has been respectful" in the locker room regarding his auditions with the 49ers, as well as last week's with the Baltimore Ravens. Among the 15 players trying out is long snapper Jimmy Davenport, the grandson of former Giants third baseman and manager Jim Davenport. The younger Davenport attended Newark Memorial High, played four years in the Seattle Mariners farm system and resumed his football career at Chabot College and Faulkner University in Alabama. Davenport said he was a "little star struck" seeing Harbaugh. Cornerback Dontae Johnson can't use his 6-foot-2, 200-pound frame this minicamp to show off his press coverage skills, seeing how no-contact rules are in effect. "But come the OTAs and training camp, I plan to work on that," said Johnson, noting he's studied the forms of Champ Bailey and Richard Sherman.
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