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Recently retired tackle Marvel Smith just concluded a conference call with the Bay Area media. He didn't have to. The 9-year pro from Oakland certainly didn't have to field questions on his personal health and the reasons for his retirement, but he did.
"It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life," Smith said of his decision.
The two-time Super Bowl Champion and one-time Pro Bowler with the Pittsburgh Steelers signed with the 49ers in late March hoping to win the starting right tackle position, but ultimately decided to end his career to preserve his personal health.
Smith has undergone a pairof back surgeries and he thought he could continue playing in San Francisco. However, it soon became apparent to Smith that it was too difficult to consistently compete on the practice field and in games.
"I thought it would feel better," Smith said of his back. "There wasn't anything helping me get better."
Smith said his primary focus is making sure he keeps himself healthy for the rest of his life so he doesn't have health issues down the road.
When asked about his fellow competitor for the starting right tackle position Adam Snyder, Smith had nothing but positive things to say.
"He's in the NFL for a reason," Smith said. "From what I saw he's definitely a quality lineman. I see him having a great season this year."
Smith also said he would follow the 49ers closely this season. Watching the team's last preseason game was actually therapeutic for him.
Looking back over his entire 9-year career Smith accomplished a lot. As a young boy growing up in Oakland, Smith could never have imagine what would happen in his future.
"I would have never believed that," he said.