After 14 seasons in the National Football League, Justin Smith is retiring from the game, citing injuries to his left shoulder. The five-time NFL Pro Bowler last played for the San Francisco 49ers, where he was key part of the defensive core that helped the team to the NFC championship in 2012.
Smith, who plays the defensive end position, joins linebackers Patrick Willis and Chris Borland, both of whom retired from the NFL this offseason.
"You come in, you go out, everything moves on," Smith said to the team's official website. "So this is no different. ... It was a good ride. You guys ain't going to get me in a room and make me cry and all that stuff. It was a pretty cut and dry decision the whole time and just went from there."
Other NFL players, including former teammates Randy Moss and Eric Reid and former opponent Tom Crabtree, took to Twitter for their reactions on Smith’s retirement from the league.
When u play with a real true pro u have to tip ur hat!Justin smith put it down for 15 yrs.1 of the good guys!#salute
— Randy Moss (@RandyMoss) May 19, 2015
#FarewellCowboy it's been awesome being able to play with this guy
— Eric Reid (@E_Reid35) May 18, 2015
"Watch out. This guy has tattoos!" - Justin Smith to me at the line during a game. Classic. _
— Tom Crabtree (@itsCrab) May 18, 2015
Smith was drafted in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft as the fourth overall pick by the Cincinnati Bengals, where he played from 2001 to 2007 before landing in San Francisco as a free agent in 2008. Smith made the NFL Pro Bowl from 2009 to 2013 and was also a three-time NFL All-Pro team member from 2011 to 2013. Smith was the team’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and 2011.
In 14 seasons in the NFL, he accumulated a total of 880 tackles, 87.0 sacks, 17 forced fumbles and 3 interceptions. Smith signed a three-year contract before the start of the 2013 NFL Season and had one year left in his deal.