Defensive lineman Justin Smith is calling it quits, per multiple NFL sources, after 14 years in the NFL. Smith started his pro career with the Cincinnati Bengals before signing a free agent contract with San Francisco in 2008.
Smith was a five-time Pro Bowler from ’09-’13 with the 49ers and finished his career with starting 217 of 221 career games. He had 87 career sacks. His best seasons with 8.5 sacks came in his rookie year with the Bengals and again in 2010. In addition to the 8.5 sacks in Cincinnati, he also hauled in two of his three career interceptions.
While at Missouri, in his junior season, Smith logged 11 sacks, 24 tackles-for-loss and 97 total tackles. His sacks and tackles-for-loss were then school season records, and he set the school’s sacks record two years in a row. Smith played at Jefferson City High School where he was selected to SuperPrep’s All-American and Top 50 teams as a senior.
However, updating this story on March 10…the latest news coming out of San Francisco is that the 49ers are leaving open the possibility that Smith could return to the team. According to a report from csnbayarea.com, Smith is leaning toward retirement but also wants to do everything he can to help the team.
The 49ers would explore the possibility of placing Smith on an injury list at the beginning of training camp in late-July so that his body will have time to recover with no practices during training camp, a team source told the website. Smith could also begin the regular season on a reserve list, which would make him ineligible for at least six weeks of the regular season.
Stay tuned. The former Jay may not be done yet.