Justin Smith will make decision on future this month

In case you've forgotten, the 49ers still don't know if Justin Smith is playing for them in 2015. They'll find out soon enough.

The Sacramento Bee reported Monday that Smith, a 35-year-old defensive tackle who spent his last seven seasons in San Francisco, plans to sit down with team officials this month and decide whether he will play in 2015.

"You'll know in about three weeks or so," Smith said.

Smith wouldn't say which way he was leaning. He wanted to wait until he was fully recovered from the previous season before making a final decision. He said that if he returns, it will likely be for one more season.

The 49ers appeared to move forward without Smith in last week's NFL draft, selecting Oregon defensive tackle Arik Armstead with the 17th overall pick. General manager Trent Baalke said the move was made independent of Smith's state of limbo.

"We gave Justin liberty to make his own decision on his time frame," Baalke said after the Armstead pick. "We went into the draft not thinking about what decision Justin's going to make or not going to make. We just went in to find the best football player, the best system fit that we could."

Smith was an ironman over the first 10 seasons of his career, but injuries have slowed him in recent years. He said his body feels good right now before adding, "but everybody feels good at this time of the year."

Smith remains an effective player, and his presence can only help a defense that's undergone an intense and unexpected level of turnover this offseason. Perhaps the organization is overdue for some good news.

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