Niners reportedly told to stop talking about their free agents

No more talk about quarterback Alex Smith, or any of your other free agents, please.

That's the message the NFL has sent to the San Francisco 49ers and new coach Jim Harbaugh, The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported Tuesday.

Harbaugh has stated several times, including two weeks ago on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access," that he'd like the 49ers to re-sign Smith. The quarterback, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, struggled with injuries and inconsistency during his first six seasons with the team.

Harbaugh speculated after April's draft -- when San Francisco selected quarterback Colin Kaepernick in the second round -- that Smith would return.

"I think he's going to come back to the team," Harbaugh said April 30. "He has not signed a contract."

Harbaugh changed his strategy during an interview with The Press Democrat last week.

"I'm not answering any questions about Alex Smith," Harbaugh said. "The league has mandated we do not talk about him. The NFL has mandated that we don't talk about players who are not under contract -- who are free agents who haven't signed. We've been sent a memo saying we can't talk about it."

A 49ers spokesman told the newspaper that the league had contacted the team about the situation. However, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told The Press Democrat he wasn't aware of the contact between the league and the 49ers.

Smith, meanwhile, has taken the lead in the 49ers' offseason workouts despite his free-agent status, The Sacramento Bee reported.

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