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Justin Smith Enters Training Camp Healthy

Posted Jul 23, 2014

The San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle revealed the details of his 2013 shoulder injury during Day 1 of the team's '14 camp.


After signing a two-year contract extension with the San Francisco 49ers last summer, Justin Smith said he was only interested in playing the 2013 season.

Smith said the same thing on day one of training camp Wednesday about the '14 campaign, his seventh with the team.

"I'm playing this year. That's all I'm focused on," he said. "I feel a lot healthier than I did last year. I feel a lot better."

The 34-year-old defensive tackle revealed to reporters that he suffered a shoulder injury during last year's camp and played through it during the season, knowing that it would require surgery. He still recorded 6.5 sacks, the second-highest total on the team, in 16 regular-season starts.

"You use your arms in football quite a bit," Smith, wearing a NaVorro Bowman-designed 'Sack Francisco' T-shirt, said with a smile. "It was what it was.

"Hey, they can fix you, so that's a good thing."

Smith will share camp snaps with his teammates, in part, to avoid pre-season wear and tear.

"Training camp is more for getting down the feel for playing with guys and your assignments and the checks, and I'm pretty confident in that, comfortable," said Smith, played the first seven seasons of his NFL career with the Cincinnati Bengals. "I think it's a great opportunity for a lot of these young guys to get reps."

Chief among them: second-year defensive tackle Tank Carradine, who will be a full participant at camp after missing his rookie season rehabbing a torn ACL.

"He's an explosive dude," Smith said. "Hopefully he can come in and do his thing, and we expect he will."

Smith and Carradine are just two members of a deep defensive line corps that also comprises Glenn Dorsey, Ray McDonald Tony Jerod-Eddie, among others.

The position group gives its most veteran player confidence heading into another season, whether it's his last or not.

"I'm just happy to be in a situation with a chance to compete for a Super Bowl," Smith said. "Our goal is to get to the Super Bowl and win it. We can actually say it like we've been saying it for the last couple of years with a straight face. I've been (places) before where I've said it, and then I've walked away and said, 'I can't believe I just said that.'"