Justin Smith plans to sit down with 49ers officials some time this month and decide whether he will return for a 15th season, Matt Barrows of The Sacramento Bee writes. “You’ll know in about three weeks or so,” the veteran defensive lineman said.
Smith, 35, would not say which way he was leaning, however. The veteran is under contract for one more season and although he has not been taking part in the 49ers’ offseason program, he is working out regularly on his own. His workout routine does not hint at his decision though – he says he’d work out even if he was out of football for health reasons.
If Smith does come back, he says it would probably be for only one more season anyway. Some speculated that the 49ers picking Oregon defensive lineman Arik Armstead was a sign that Smith was set to call it quits. However, since Smith doesn’t intend on being around beyond 2015 anyway, that draft choice meant very little in terms of the veteran’s future. Smith has been the 49ers’ top defensive lineman since he arrived in free agency in 2008, but he has battled injuries in recent years, including a triceps injury in 2012 and a shoulder injury in 2013.
In 2014, his age-35 season, Smith totaled five sacks (giving him 87 for his career) and Pro Football Focus (subscription required) ranked him the NFL’s 11th-best 3-4 defensive end out of 47 qualifiers.