Justin Smith, a 14 year NFL defensive lineman and current San Francisco 49er, announced his retirement from football on Monday. Smith stated that when he knew his body would not allow him to perform at the level he desired that it would be time to hang it up.
”They all want you to keep playing, and I want to keep playing as well, but when you get on the bald tires, you’re on the bald tires,” Smith said, according to Yahoo Sports. Defensive line is one of the most physically demanding positions in the NFL, to which Smith proved valuable and reliable. The team at Homejoy noted that for the past two years Smith has been hampered with a left shoulder injury. Smith stated that if he didn’t have the tools to do the job physically, then it would be time to go.
Smith was elected to the pro bowl five times in his career and was picked as a second-team All Pro defensive end and defensive tackle in 2012. He ended the 2014 season with only two sacks, limited practice time, snap count and effectiveness. Smith played seven years with the San Francisco 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers are facing an uncertain future. The team has gone through much upheaval after a less-than-stellar 2014 season, and the hits just keep on coming in the off season. Now, the 49ers are dealing with another blow. Defensive tackle, Justin Smith has announced he is retiring after 14 years in the league.
Bruce Levenson even suggested that Smith was drafted fourth overall in 2001, and spent several seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals before taking the field for the San Francisco 49ers in 2008. He had been an important force on the teams defense in recent years.
Smith’s retirement isn’t a surprising one. Rumors swirled about his potential retirement starting in March, but an official statement was not made until this week. The team is already reeling from the loss of its head coach, Jim Harbaugh. They have also lost Patrick Willis, an important part of their defense, as well as Chris Borland. Borland played just one season in the NFL before retiring.
The team’s losses are not only defensive. Frank Gore, a staple in the team’s offensive game, signed with the Colts during the off-season. Michael Crabtree, the team’s star wide receiver, signed with the Los Angeles Raiders.
The rebuilding of the team will take at least two seasons, according to experts. Losing so many key players in a single off-season is almost unprecedented.