The San Francisco 49ers made the announcement official on Monday, but it was a story we passed along from multiple sources back in early March. Former Jefferson City Jay, Missouri Tiger and All-Pro defensive end Justin Smith is retiring after 14-seasons.
Smith and the 49ers were waiting to see if a shoulder issue would clear up and the franchise was patient, but Smith knows the time is now.
“If you don’t have the tools, you can’t do that job,” he said. “It’s time to go. When you’re on bald tires, you’re on bald tires … it’s a young man’s game. It was just time for me to move on. It was a great ride.”
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.
49ers CEO Jed York described Smith perfectly.
“Tough. Physical. Durable. Hard-working. Dedicated. Selfless…he will always be remembered as one of the 49ers all-time greats.”