The San Francisco 49ers announced Tuesday that LB Derek Smith has been waived. Smith originally signed with the 49ers as an unrestricted free agent from the Washington Redskins in 2000.
"Decisions like this are a difficult part of a great business," said head coach Mike Nolan. "Derek has been an important member of the 49ers, and you don't make these kinds of decisions without battling the emotion that is natural when you are dealing with a player that has done so much for your organization.
"We made the decision because we have quality linebackers who we think are the future of the 49ers. Derek was a model professional during his seven seasons with the 49ers, and he influenced a lot of the younger players with his work ethic."
Smith (6-2, 240) is a 12-year veteran who was originally a third-round pick by the Redskins in 1997.
"I enjoyed my time with the 49ers over the last seven years," said Smith. "It is unfortunate that we did not accomplish what we wanted to during that time. I wish the team the best of luck, and I hope they get to where they want to be soon. In the meantime, it is time for me to move on and find another team in the NFL."
In 2007, Smith started 14 of 15 games and finished fifth on the team with 98 tackles to go along with one interception and one fumble recovery.
In his career, Smith has accumulated 1,493 career tackles and 13.5 sacks. He was named the 2005 Co-Recipient of the Bill Walsh Award, which honors the team's most valuable player and is voted on by the coaches. Smith also posted 100 or more tackles in his first nine NFL seasons.