49ers defensive tackle Justin Smith hasn’t resumed a full schedule of football activities after the torn triceps injury that limited him near the end of last season, but he has started talking about his rehab in the past tense.
Smith said Wednesday that he thought the rehab “went pretty well,” even though he says he’s still short of being 100 percent. The expectation remains that Smith will reach that point by the start of training camp in six weeks and that he’ll take on a full workload once camp is underway.
At that point, Smith will start building his case to stick around the 49ers beyond the 2013 season. Smith’s entering the final year of his contract and turns 34 in September, something he realizes has worked against other veteran players when they hit the open market.
“At my point in my career, nothing’s a given, nothing’s a guarantee,” Smith said, via Cam Inman of the Bay Area News Group. “They don’t like old guys anyway for football. So I’m going to enjoy this year, do the best I can this year and hopefully it’s enough for us and the team and we’ll get it done.”
The 49ers signed Glenn Dorsey and drafted a pair of defensive linemen, additions that could help Smith stay fresher by taking on fewer snaps this season than he’s seen in the past. Of course, a strong performance by those rookies — Tank Carradine and Quinton Dial — could play into Smith’s future, although both of them are injured at present and their outlook for training camp is less clear than the one enjoyed by Smith.