Steve Smith Sr. has vowed that this season will be the last of his 16-year career as a wide receiver. But fellow wideout Mike Wallace said he would love to continue playing with Smith.
"Sixteen years is a long time, but if anybody can keep playing, it's him," Wallace said Sunday. "It's just an honor to be on the team with him. Every day to see the way he works and see how we carries himself, I just love it. I wish I would have had more time with him."
The oldest receiver in the league at 37 years, Smith ranks second on the team in yards (516) and touchdown catches (threes) and third in receptions (44). In Sunday's loss, he paced the offense with eight catches for 99 yards and one score and reached the 1,000-reception plateau.
Harbaugh admitted that trying to persuade Smith to return "has crossed my mind."
"If he wants to come back, he's welcome. Absolutely," Harbaugh said. "You'd like every good football player you can get. But I don't want to speak for Steve. He's had an unbelievably awesome career. He got his 1,000th catch so he should be commended for that. Congratulations to Steve on that accomplishment. We look for many more this year."
Boyle to return: After serving a 10-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs for the second time, tight end Nick Boyle is eligible to return to the team this week.
Boyle, a fifth-round selection in the 2015 NFL draft who caught six passes for 46 yards in the preseason, would some much-needed depth to a position that lost Benjamin Watson (torn right Achilles tendon) and Maxx Williams (knee cartilage) for the season, bade farewell to Daniel Brown when he was signed by the Chicago Bears, and has played the last three games without Crockett Gillmore (pulled hamstring). Dennis Pitta and Darren Waller are the only healthy tight ends.
Harbaugh said the team has some time before deciding whether to place Boyle on the active roster. "I think we have a week to make the decision, so it's not for this game where we have to make a decision," he said, referring to Sunday's contest against Cincinnati. "It could be after this game. That's my understanding, unless I'm wrong about that, which is certainly possible. But he'll be back practicing this week. We'll see how he looks. He hasn't been here for 10 weeks, so it's been quite a while."
End zone: Inside linebacker Zachary Orr led the defense in tackles with 11 in his return to the Dallas area where he played at DeSoto High School and the University of North Texas. "Just to come back home where I grew up and a lot of my family and friends from high school and college watch me live and in person, and even people who weren't at the game who live down here, local on TV is just great," said Orr, an undrafted free agent in 2014. "I got a lot of text messages and good luck wishes. It is something I definitely enjoyed." … The Denver Broncos signed former Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown to the active roster and cut cornerback Taurean Nixon. Brown, who joined the Ravens in 2013 as an undrafted rookie, started 12 games that year and caught 49 passes for 524 yards and seven touchdowns.