Justin Smith wanted to finish his career with the San Francisco 49ers and with Wednesday's announcement of a two-year contract extension between the defensive tackle and the club, that wish is likely a reality.
"They want me to be here and I want to be here so it makes it easy," said Smith after he inked an extension that'll keep him with the 49ers through the 2015 season.
General Manager Trent Baalke approached the 13-year veteran recently about a contract extension. It was an easy process according to Smith. The defensive tackle's deal was set to end after the 2013 season and ultimately, Smith felt good about his situation with the team and decided San Francisco would be the best place to wrap up his career.
"It was about having an opportunity to be on a great team and go for a championship," Smith explained. "That's what it's all about."
Smith also took pride in being able to sign a contract at the age 33.
"I'm excited about playing here," the 49ers co-defensive captain said. "I'm excited about the opportunity. Usually in the NFL, a chance to go out on your own terms so to speak is, I never dreamed that would happen, so I'm pumped about that."
The two-time All-Pro and four-time Pro Bowler has been a force for San Francisco's defensive line ever since he signed as a free agent in 2008. Smith has totaled 536 tackles, 32.0 sacks, one interception, seven forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and nine passes defensed since joining the 49ers following a seven-year stint in Cincinnati to begin his NFL career.
For Smith, the opportunity to play with one of the NFL's best defenses for the remainder of his stellar career was too good to ignore.
"It's the talent around you that allows you to play better," said Smith, San Francisco's 2012 Len Eshmont Award winner. "That's what I said when I first got here, it was the most talented roster I'd ever been a part of and it's only gotten better.
"Trent and everybody involved keeps adding the right pieces. I want to be a part of it."
Smith recognized that the 49ers were looking to bolster defensive line depth with a pair of draft picks in April, but didn't take any offense to it. The veteran defender understood the nature of the decisions.
"It's the NFL, you're always bringing in people, you're always brining in competition," Smith noted. "(Jim) Harbaugh tells you the first day, 'There's only so many seats, you guys are fighting for them, good luck.'
"That's the way the National Football League. You know that coming in. You know that going out."
As of Wednesday, Smith knows he'll likely be going out as a member of the 49ers.
"Having that opportunity, I feel real fortunate," said Smith, who totaled a career-high 130 tackles in the regular season despite missing two games to finish out the year.
Smith feels nearly 100 percent recovered from the offseason triceps procedure he underwent early this offseason. The 49ers defensive tackle is close to his old self in the team's weight room, but noted he has six weeks to get back to full strength for the regular season.
Until the season begins, Smith has taken a liking to how San Francisco's defensive coaches have self-scouted their tendencies from the 2012 season. Smith feels like it's going to only help the 49ers improve defensively to counter the schemes of upcoming opponents.
"Doling a little bit of self-scouting, recognizing things we need to clean up from each individual player and how we play – I think is going to help us moving forward," Smith said. "I think the coaching staff has done a good job of addressing how we're going to improve."
Smith is confident that he can have a major impact on the field in 2013 and for the two years added to his contract. He also knows it won't be at a limited role.
"I won't be a guy that's around for 10 snaps, 20 snaps, it's either I'm going or I'm not going," the defensive tackle said.
For now, Smith's sole focus is on 2013 and winning a Super Bowl. The newly added contract years can be focused on at a later date.
"I'm playing this one, I know that for a fact and then we'll go from there," Smith said. "I feel good, that's the main thing."