SANTA CLARA -- Jim Harbaugh can be forgiven for trying so hard to convince us that everything is going so, so right for the 49ers right now.
Harbaugh has a team to get into gear, a training camp to run and various minor issues to corral before the start of this critical season.
So he had a theme to push Thursday, at the start of his fourth training camp as 49ers coach, and he was not subtle about it:
"It's such a positive happening, that first day," Harbaugh said during his first session in the Levi's Stadium auditorium.
"Imagine you're kind of in the comfort of the offseason, like being in the comfort of the womb, got plenty to eat in there, it's warm, very cozy.
"And then you're born, kind of, somewhat into the unknown. A lot of people looking at you, a lot of faces looking at you, a lot of excitement ... It's light, it's bright, it's noisy, it's the crazy world of football."
This is how Harbaugh chose to frame his response to tight end Vernon Davis ending his holdout and coming to camp -- new day, rebirth, how positive!
This is also how Harbaugh framed his response to guard Alex Boone continuing his holdout -- new day, still very positive!
This is just about how Harbaugh answered almost every general question about his team as this franchise tries to end a frustrating run of three trips to the NFC Championship game with zero Super Bowl titles.
Rebirth. Positive. Actually: "Relentlessly positive," in Harbaugh's exact phrasing.
But even someone as fiercely focused as Harbaugh couldn't argue that everything was bliss for the 49ers, who have those contractual issues, have key players still on the sidelines with injuries and are awaiting news on NFL discipline for Aldon Smith.
This isn't a young team anymore; this isn't a naive team; and this is now a very expensive team, with a gleaming new stadium opening up in weeks.
The 49ers are a middle-aged team dealing with the issues that all grown-up teams have to deal with, and, frustratingly for them, they have to do it without knowing if they can or will win a Super Bowl eventually.
In his first comments since ending his holdout, Davis said he relented and rejoined the team because he missed football and wanted to be back with Frank Gore and the rest of his teammates as they drive for their ultimate goal.
Of course, five weeks ago, while Davis and Boone were skipping the mandatory minicamp, Harbaugh said it wasn't "the 49er way" to behave like that.
"I don't have anything against Harbaugh," Davis said Thursday. "He can say the worst things in the world about me, I don't care.
"I mean, he's the coach. He's my coach; I'm still going to love him regardless."
Smith, meanwhile, said he has never felt better and said he hasn't had a drink since going into rehab -- and missing five games -- after his 2013 DUI.
And Smith said he is eager to get his troubles behind him and can begin to serve in a work program as part of the 12-day sentence he received last week.
"It's a process, so it's something that you've got to take one day at a time and continue to get better," Smith said. "Every day is a new day."
Of course, Boone remains out of camp, aiming for a larger contract.
These are not an abnormal amount of issues for a good team, but they're more than the 49ers have had to juggle in awhile.
Otherwise, the 49ers ran through their first practice without Anthony Davis or Justin Smith (both out with lingering injuries) but still looking as talented as any team in the league.
First-round pick Jimmie Ward, in particular, was flying all over the field, including a scrambling, diving interception of a tipped Colin Kaepernick pass.
This is all part of the Harbaugh message: Things are positive; this is the start of something fresh and great and positive, positive, positive, positive.
"I see it in their eyes," Harbaugh said. "They're cheerful and undefeated. I might be a little bit older, but I look at the mirror, I see my eyes, they're cheerful and undefeated.
"I don't know that you can ever have a team that's truly happy as a football team or in training camp, especially. You may not be around a happy team.
"But our team is the least unhappy team I've ever been around."
Print that up and raise it as a banner atop the new stadium: Not entirely happy, but not as unhappy as everybody else.
Even when Harbaugh was trying to highlight the positive, he actually nailed down what the mood around here really -- and realistically -- is.
Troubled linebacker Aldon Smith "feeling great" at start of camp. PAGE 3