San Francisco 49ers

Tomsula: Discussions with Justin Smith about his future are nothing new

Jim Tomsula said he won’t pressure Justin Smith about returning for a 15th season.
Jim Tomsula said he won’t pressure Justin Smith about returning for a 15th season. The Bee

INDIANAPOLIS -- Jim Tomsula said he plans to “shoot the bologna” with Justin Smith regarding his future with the 49ers, a conversation Tomsula said he’s had with the veteran defensive end for the last three or four years.

“This guy’s played a lot of football,” said Tomsula, who served as Smith’s position coach from 2008-14. “It’s probably been three or four years that we’ve had those talks.”

Smith, 35, has one more year remaining on his contract but hasn’t decided whether he wants to play anymore. He’s battled triceps, shoulder and back injuries in recent years. Tomsula said he would not give the 14-year veteran a high-pressure pitch.

“He’s earned the right to make decisions on his terms,” Tomsula said. “The guy’s had an unbelievable career. He’s brought so much to the people he’s been around, that’s he’s work with and for and alongside. Out of respect for Justin, I’ve told him that I will not try to talk him into anything. And I will not try to talk him out of anything.”

Like general manager Trent Baalke, Tomsula said he’ll try to speak with Smith after the combine. The two have spoken in recent weeks, but it was a more relaxed conversation.

“Justin’s come around to bust my chops; that’s the way he does things,” Tomsula said.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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