San Francisco defensive lineman Justin Smith has had a hard time getting over the 49ers’ loss to the Giants in the NFC Championship Game. And he’s channeling the frustration he felt from that loss into an offseason in which he’s working harder than ever.
“My whole life, I’ve never really moped around after a loss or this or that. But this is one that’s burned my ass the longest,” Smith told the San Jose Mercury-News. “I’m just like, ‘Man.’ It makes me that much more hungry.”
Smith was back in the 49ers’ weight room two days after the loss to the Giants, has attended all of the team’s voluntary offseason workouts and has incorporated boxing into his personal workouts. He says he’s motivated by a firm belief that this year’s 49ers have the talent to win the Super Bowl.
“We’re aiming high. But it’s an everyday grind,” Smith said. “It’s going to be tough, but we think we have the pieces in place. As long as we keep our heads down and work hard, I think we have a shot.”
As hard as he’s working, Smith wishes he could go even harder: He called the rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that restrict contact in offseason work “ridiculous.” He wants to hit somebody. And he’ll be fired up to do so when the season starts.