SANTA CLARA -- Just had an interesting give-and-take with 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh about Aldon Smith, his troubled All-Pro linebacker who two days ago plead no contest to three felony weapons counts and one DUI count.

It got loud. Harbaugh wasn't at all thrilled with this line of questioning from the moment I brought up Smith's name.

Doesn't matter — if he thinks he shouldn't have to answer questions on this issue when one of his top players could go to jail July 25 — a few days after training camp is set to start — then Harbaugh is severely confused about his role as head coach for a billion-dollar franchise.

San Francisco 49er Aldon Smith leaves a Santa Clara County Superior courtroom after pleading no contest to weapons and DUI charges Wednesday afternoon, May
San Francisco 49er Aldon Smith leaves a Santa Clara County Superior courtroom after pleading no contest to weapons and DUI charges Wednesday afternoon, May 21, 2014, in San Jose, Calif. He will be sentenced on July 25. (Karl Mondon/Bay Area News Group)

But the larger point: I asked him these questions because he is fully capable of answering them. He's not a lackey or a shrinking violet. He's a bright guy who has set the tone on this issue no question.

Harbaugh dodged some of the particulars, but the 49ers coach saying that there are consequences for actions, good or bad, is something that is worth saying.

Harbaugh also would not say if he plans to have Smith start training camp with the team in late July. Which I find a little worthwhile to know, also.

I know fans of Pope Harbaugh won't like any of this. Too bad — these are fair questions for a high-profile team with a repeat problem-causer who is facing sentencing in two months.


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His jumping to the reasoning that I must've practiced the question in front of mirror... well, that's telling. I don't have to practice questions; it's my job to think of them and then ask and I think I'm OK at it spontaneously.

But he must think that asking him a reasonably tough question requires great preparation and fortitude. It doesn't.

His answers are worth hearing, in my opinion. If that means he and I have to raise our voices to get there, I'm always fine with that. I think he is — or will be — too.

-Snippets from Jim Harbaugh's mini-camp availability...

-Q: Aldon Smith was successfully prosecuted on three felony counts and one misdemeanor count. Does he remain a member of this team in full good standing?

-HARBAUGH: Uh, yes.

-Q: So what's your standard? Is it 10 felony counts the standard? Do you have a standard?

-HARBAUGH: I know you probably worked really hard on asking that question. Probably stared in the mirror and thought about just the way you could [ask] that.

-Q: No, I did not.

-HARBAUGH: There's a legal process... you're talking...

-Q: What you said was untrue. It's wrong.

-HARBAUGH: OK. Well, then you can write your story how you write it. If you want me to answer the question, I'd be glad to.

It's part of a legal process. I am not an attorney or a judge. I'm a football coach. So I will let that go through the legal process. There's nothing more that I can add to it. At this time.

-Q: Is he still your starter?

-HARBAUGH: Is he part of this team? Yes.

-Q: Is he your starting linebacker?

-HARBAUGH: We're too early to tell who the starters are right now.

-Q: He was your starting linebacker two days after he was arrested for DUI last season.

-HARBAUGH: There's nothing further I can add to that right now.

-Q: Last year at about this time, we were asking you about Seattle's situation with several of their players having issues with PEDs and you said you wanted your players to be above reproach. I know that was specifically an answer about the PED issue. But do you want you want your players to be above reproach legally, criminally? Is that important to you?

-HARBAUGH: I want our players to strive to be above reproach in all regards. And I can't imagine that anybody would tell anybody any differently.

I can't imagine — if it were you, or I, or anybody else here would want their youngsters to strive for anything less. Certainly wouldn't promote that they strive to be below reproach.

Would you, Tim?

-Q: No.

-HARBAUGH: OK.

-Q: So are all of your players above reproach right now?

-HARBAUGH: No, we've got some things we've got to resolve. But we are in a process — and always are in process of striving to be above reproach, yes.

-Q: Is there any negative to a team to have players in trouble. Is that a problem at all for you? Does it take affect on a locker room?

-HARBAUGH: The locker room... you tend to put a lot of things on a locker room. A locker room isn't an all-encompassing... to take care of all the world's problems or each individual's problems.

There's a process that he's taking care of individually, that is his accountability, just like all of us.

Anything that we do — if we do things right, there's going to be consequences. If we do things wrong, there's going to be consequences for that. All of our actions, there's consequences, good or bad.

-Q: Practically, he has a sentencing hearing on July 25, which is a few days after you're set to open training camp. Would he be in training camp to start? Is that the plan?

-HARBAUGH: As I said earlier, there's really nothing further that I can add to it.

-Q: We do know the hearing is the 25th, that's a fact. That's after you start camp. In your mind is he starting camp with pads with everybody else?

-HARBAUGH: I'm not going to get into speculating on what's going to happen, what could happen, what will happen. There's nothing really further that I can add to this line of questioning.

You can take bamboo shoots and stick 'em under my fingernails and there still wouldn't be any more I could add further to this discussion.

-Q: Has a decision on that been made or will you just not say the decision?

-HARBAUGH: There's nothing further that I can add right now without speculating. I don't know why you can't understand that at this time.

-Q: Is he still here? Is he participating in the off-season program here?

-HARBAUGH: Yes, he's coming to work. Showing up, he's working hard, he's listening, he's doing what he says he's going to do. We give him that opportunity, yes.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.