Last year’s exodus from San Francisco included the not-so-unexpected retirement of defensive lineman Justin Smith, a first-round pick in 2001 who has split his 14-year career equally between Cincinnati and San Francisco.
Now, a year after Smith retired, there’s a rumor that perhaps he’d be interested in playing again.
A league source shared with PFT at the Scouting Combine the intriguing rumor of talk that Smith would like to play again, but that he doesn’t want to play for the 49ers.
The problem for Smith is that the 49ers continue to control his rights. If he returns, they’d be entitled to his services for the balance of a contract that was tolled when he walked away. He could be traded, but another team would have to be willing to give value to the 49ers for a guy who has been out of the league for a full year — and who will turn 37 in September.
It’s unlikely he’ll be back, but talk regarding the possibility is currently present in Indianapolis.