49ers DE Justin Smith calls it a career-- Mon May 18 8:30 pm --
Loss of 14-year vet latest in a series of offseason departures
Justin Smith, the iron-clad backbone of the 49ersí standout defense in recent years, retired Monday, citing a familiar culprit when it comes to ending the careers of 30-something linemen: wear and tear.
Smith follows ILBs Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, who retired within a week of each other in March. Smithís announcement represents another major loss for the 49ers, who went to the playoffs from 2011 through 2013 largely because of the stout play by Smith, Willis and the rest of the defensive front seven.(Sacamento Bee)
FF Today's Take:Although Smith never recorded a double-digit sack season, he will go down as one of the league's all-time best "5-techniques" because he was an elite run-stopper who quite frequently tied up two blockers and let players like Aldon Smith rack up huge sack numbers. Although Darnell Dockett and first-rounder Arik Armstead will be in the mix to replace Smith, owners should knock the Niners' defense down another peg after this news.