Marvel Smith plans to retire

Marvel Smith plans to retire


One of the 49ers’ major priorities when the offseason began was to strengthen their offensive line. But heading into their third exhibition game, the 49ers find themselves in worse shape than they were when the 2008 season concluded.


Veteran tackle Marvel Smith, 31, whom the 49ers signed in the offseason, is experiencing a lot of pain and discomfort in his back and has expressed his intention to retire. Smith finished the past two seasons on injured reserve with back problems while with the Pittsburgh Steelers.


Smith did not make the trip with the 49ers to Dallas, where the clubs will meet Saturday night in an exhibition game at the new Cowboys Stadium. The 49ers will already be playing without presumptive starting right tackle Adam Snyder, who is out at least a week with a right knee sprain.


The 49ers’ starting offensive line at the end of last season was:


LT Joe Staley

LG David Baas

C Eric Heitmann

RG Chilo Rachal

RT Adam Snyder


But Baas has been out of action since early in training camp with a foot sprain. Tony Wragge has replaced him in the starting lineup. Tonight, veteran Barry Sims will replace Snyder, with undrafted rookie Alex Boone also slated for extensive playing time.


Smith was considered a risk when the 49ers signed him. He was given little up-front money because of the uncertainty of whether he could hold up physically.


The 49ers also had their sights set on adding a potential starting right tackle in the draft. However, when the higher-rated receiver Michael Crabtree was available with the No. 10 overall pick, the 49ers immediately selected him over Mississippi tackle Michael Oher.


Coach Mike Singletary said in a briefing with reporters Friday that Smith was excused for personal reasons. When a spokesman was asked if the club had any comment my Twitter report there was a strong chance Smith would retire, the answer was “No.”


It is believed that the 49ers are holding out hope Smith will reconsider his decision and still be able to fill a role as a backup at both offensive tackle positions.


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