SANTA CLARA -– The 49ers are beginning their internal process of determining the organization’s next step with fullback Bruce Miller, who was arrested last week on a misdemeanor charge of spousal battery.
But the team has come to conclusions on a couple players with off-the-field concerns. The 49ers decided last week to sign free-agent wide receiver Jerome Simpson, who has twice faced NFL suspensions. But the 49ers have no interest in Carolina Panthers free-agent defensive lineman Greg Hardy, general manager Trent Baalke said.
Hardy is on the Commissioner's Exempt List, but he is free to sign with any team. The NFL must decide if it will suspend Hardy after domestic violence charges against him, stemming from a conviction last year, was dismissed after prosecutors in North Carolina said the accuser in the case declined to appear and testify.
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The 49ers were named this week on Bleacher Report as a team interested in signing Hardy. Baalke strongly denied the 49ers have any plan to pursue Hardy.
“There’s been no contact with Greg Hardy or any representative of his,” Baalke said. “There is no interest that we’ve shown, nor will we show in bringing Greg Hardy into this program.”
The 49ers have not made a decision whether any action is needed with Miller, who was arrested on Thursday in Santa Clara. Police have forwarded the results of its investigation to the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s office.
“We’ve been in contact with Bruce,” Baalke said. “We started the process internally. We’re going to continue to gather information. That’s really all I can say at this time.
“Any time any one of our players gets in any type of situation off the field, there’s a process that we go through internally. We understand the gravity of where we’re at.”
At a time in which CEO Jed York has repeated his goal of fielding a team that "wins with class," the signing of Simpson raised some eyebrows. York told the San Francisco Chronicle last week, when asked about the signing, “You have to ask Trent. I don’t know what the thinking was.”
The 49ers last week signed Simpson to a two-year contract that includes no guaranteed money. Simpson did not play last season after the Minnesota Vikings released him in September as he finished a three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse as a repeat offender.
It was the second suspension of his NFL career. Simpson pleaded guilty to a felony charge resulting from two pounds of marijuana being shipped to his home in Kentucky in September 2011 while he was with the Cincinnati Bengals.
He was arrested for suspicious of DWI in November 2013. Simpson was also cited last July on charges of marijuana possession, open container and violating the conditions of his limited drivers license.
Baalke compared the signing of Simpson to the team’s decision to sign Perrish Cox in 2012, shortly after he was acquitted on sexual assault charges in Colorado.
“Like any player we bring in, we do our due diligence,” Baalke said. “We really look into the situation. I think you remember a couple years back, we brought a player in, Perrish Cox. It worked out well. Every situation is different. We felt good about the information we gathered with Jerome.”
Baalke said the 49ers spoke with a lot of people who worked in the past with Simpson. The team brought Simpson to Santa Clara last week and spent a full day with him before deciding to sign him.
“We’re not going to bring in people that we don’t feel can live up to what we expect a 49er to live up to,” Baalke said. “But we’re also not going to take everybody that’s made mistake in their past and take them off our board. We’re just not going to do that.”