The 49ers have announced to retirement of veteran defensive end Justin Smith.
Smith had been undecided about returning for a 15th NFL season and had been meeting with team officials to determine his future. There is no doubt the 49ers and new head coach Jim Tomsula wanted Smith back but the former University of Missouri star ultimately decided he was ready to hang up his cleats.
Drafted fourth overall in 2001 by the Cincinnati Bengals, Smith was a stalwart on the Bengals defensive line but did not achieve real NFL stardom until signing with the 49ers as a highly-coveted free agent in 2008. He went to five consecutive Pro Bowls as a 49er. Perhaps Smith’s most impressive accomplishment was the streak of 185 consecutive starts from his rookie season through December of 2012.
“Justin is the consummate professional whose impact on this organization can never be measured by statistics alone,” said 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. “His durability, competitiveness, work ethic, strength and rare stamina helped set him apart over his 14-year career. Cowboy will go down as one of the best to ever wear a 49ers uniform and his candidness, work ethic and pure passion for the game will be missed. We wish the very best for him and his family!”
Smith’s retirement adds another rotating element to a 49ers team that has gone through many changes since last season. The Niners will open up this year at home on Monday night against the Minnesota Vikings. Tickets begin at $105, according to TiqIQ.com. 49ers fans looking to for travel accommodations should use Hipmunk.com as a resource for all information on flights to San Francisco. In addition, Hipmunks provides information on hotels in San Francisco which typically start from $109 in the Bay area.