Last season, San Francisco 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said he thought the Seattle Seahawks' defensive backs broke rules on the field. Harbaugh offered thoughts Tuesday on some of the Seahawks' recent violations off it, notably their five suspensions since 2011 for substances the NFL classifies as performance enhancing.
"I've definitely noticed it," Harbaugh said, according to a transcript from Grant Cohn, who was at the 49ers' facility. "You don’t know what it is. Even when people say what it is, you don’t know that that’s what it is."
Harbaugh referred specifically to reports of Seattle players using Adderall, an amphetamine that can be used to treat attention-deficit disorders. Adderall can also mask the presence of other banned substances. Some also use it recreationally.
"I’ve heard this thrown out or that, but that’s usually the agent or the players themselves saying it’s, for example, Adderal," Harbaugh said. "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."
Harbaugh said banned substances have "no place" in athletics.
"Play by the rules," Harbaugh said. "You 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.' That’s always going to be a knee-jerk reaction in my experience, since I was a little kid.
"We want to be a above reproach in everything and do everything by the rules. If you don’t, if you cheat to win, then you've already lost, according to Bo Schembechler. And Bo Schembechler is about next to the word of God. It’s not the word of God, but it’s close."
Former 49ers linebacker Larry Grant tested positive for peformance-enhancing drugs and was suspended this offseason. He was no longer with the 49ers when the suspension came down. Defensive end Bruce Irvin was the latest Seahawks player to incur a suspension for PED violations. He'll miss the first four games of the 2013 season.