San Francisco 49ers

Tomsula says he won’t pressure Justin Smith’s decision

Justin Smith is still deliberating on whether he wants to play a 15th season.
Justin Smith is still deliberating on whether he wants to play a 15th season. The Bee

PHOENIX -- Jim Tomsula said Sunday there's no deadline for Justin Smith to make a decision on retirement, and the 49ers coach said he'll continue to give the veteran defensive lineman plenty of time and space to make up his mind.

Tomsula said he met with Smith, 35, just last week. But it was just to say, hello. "How ya doin', you look great," Tomsula said. "That was it."

"I've never pressed him," continued Tomsula, who is in Phoenix for the annual owners meeting. "I never have the last three or four years. I'll just never do that. I know it would be easier for everybody if I did. I just have too much respect for guys when they get into it that long. Especially him."

Smith has been working out both at the team facility and San Jose Jose State where he trains with teammates like Ian Williams and Joe Looney as well as ex teammates like Parys Haralson and Ray McDonald.

Prior to free agency, Smith said he figured the 49ers would want to know whether he was coming back or not. However, the retirement of linebacker Patrick Willis -- and to a lesser extent, Chris Borland -- has freed salary cap space the team perhaps was not expecting a month ago.

"Nobody that handles a checkbook pressured me about that," Tomsula said. "When he says that, that's him feeling like he wants to do the right thing. I haven't said anything to him in that sense. It's, 'How's it going? What've you been up to, man?' Family stuff and things like that."

This isn’t the first time Smith has contemplated retirement. He suffered from a torn triceps ligament in 2012 that had to be surgically repaired in the 2013 offseason. That year he injured his shoulder, which also required an offseason procedure. Smith has one year remaining on his contract.

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