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Thursday, June 20, 2013
Around the NFC West: A positive message

By Mike Sando


The San Francisco 49ers did not find room on their 2013 payroll for starters such as Delanie Walker, Dashon Goldson and Isaac Sopoaga. They traded away another recently productive player, Alex Smith, and showed no interest in keeping Randy Moss.

Re-signing mainstay defensive lineman Justin Smith in a deal announced Wednesday might carry additional meaning following so many departures. The two-year extension through 2015 came with strong words of appreciation from general manager Trent Baalke. In a way, the 49ers were reassuring their locker room that the team takes care of its best players, even older ones coming off surgery.

Smith, 33, is already bench-pressing more than 400 pounds -- "over four plates" in Smith's vernacular -- a few months after a procedure to repair his torn triceps. He was previously indestructible during a 185-game starting streak.

The 49ers have consistently re-signed their own players, including right tackle Anthony Davis this offseason. However, planning for the long haul meant making some tough choices. Re-signing Smith, a pillar of the locker room, hits the right note just as players are dispersing until training camp.

As for Smith, who apparently negotiated this deal himself, without an agent, he was typically direct and plainspoken about his future.

"I won’t be a guy that’s around for 10 snaps, 20 snaps," he told reporters. "It’s either I’m going [to be a full-time player] or I’m not going. And when it’s time to get my ass out of here, I’m going. I get a ticket like everybody else, so that’s what I’m doing."