SANTA CLARA -– General manager Trent Baalke said Thursday he did not speak with veteran defensive lineman Justin Smith about the future after the final game of the season.
Smith, who finished his 14th season, gave the impression to many of his teammates that he planned to retire. But Baalke said he never had that conversation with Smith, who remains under contract to the 49ers for next season.
“Like any player at this stage of his career, he’s going . . . what I told him was we’re not even going to talk,” Baalke said. “When I left it with him, the next two or three weeks, ‘Justin, go home, take care of your family, see how you feel, and at some point in the next month, three weeks to a month, I’ll reach out and we’ll talk.’
“And I think he’s earned that right. His nickname obviously is ‘Cowboy,’ if he’s going to saddle up again, he’ll know. That decision will be his and his alone, and we’ll certainly work through that with him when the time is right.”
New 49ers coach Jim Tomsula said he planned to speak with many of the players on Thursday night, including Smith, Frank Gore and Colin Kaepernick.