49ers Blog and Q&A

News, notes and reader questions about the San Francisco 49ers

March 17, 2009
Marvel Smith to pay 49ers a visit

The 49ers currently have a hole at right tackle, and they're wondering whether Marvel Smith is the man to fill it. The long-time Steelers tackle is scheduled to meet with the 49ers tomorrow, a team official confirmed today. Smith is from the Bay Area having played high school ball at Skyline High School in Oakland. He went to Arizona State and was a second-round pick by the Steelers in the 2000 draft. Smith has two Super Bowl rings and he went to the Pro Bowl in 2004.

As the 2008 season ended, the 49ers identified tackle as one of the positions they hoped to improve this offseason. So, far, however, they haven't added any new tackles to their ranks. Jonas Jennings, who began 2008 as the starting right tackle, will be released later this offseason. Barry Sims, 34, and Adam Snyder, 27, also started games at right tackle, but neither is viewed as the future starter. The team also could turn to the draft for help. However, both of the tackles that are most likely to be available at pick No. 10 - Alabama's Andre Smith and Ole Miss's Michael Oher - come with question marks.

At 6-5, 325 pounds, Marvel Smith is just the kind of big body the 49ers want on the right side and he has experience at both right and left tackle. But he's not perfect. Smith will be 31 when the season begins and he has missed 15 games due to injury in the last two seasons. Smith had lower back surgery in December 2007. He returned from that procedure this past season but re-injured his back on Oct. 5 and was later placed on injured reserve. In other words, Smith's physical tomorrow at Stanford Hospital will be tremendously important.

-- Matt Barrows

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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