Editor’s note: This week, The Star will check in with Missouri natives and former MU stars Aldon and Justin Smith as the San Francisco 49ers’ pass rushers prepare for Sunday’s Super Bowl against Baltimore.
Houston Texans outside linebacker J.J. Watt, who led the NFL with 20.5 sacks, was asked what players he likes to watch. The answer: Justin Smith.
“I like to watch guys who do it right and play hard,” Watt said of the former Missouri standout.
Aldon Smith has been wearing a red T-shirt promoting Dethrone Beverage, a high-performance beverage he is promoting.
Smith, the former Missouri and Raytown High School star, recently signed a three-year endorsement agreement with Dethrone.
“They have an energy energy drink coming out ... make sure you get it,” said Smith, who led the NFC with 19.5 sacks in 2012. “I try to bring a lot of energy to the game when I play, and I want people to get a little of that.”
Outside linebacker Aldon Smith, who led the NFC with 19.5 sacks, made a confession on Thursday. He patterned his stance after Baltimore outside linebacker Terrell Suggs.
“I think I stole his stance,” said Smith. “We both can get to the quarterback and make plays out there.”
Smith, who has not had a sack in five games, was listed on the injury report with a shoulder injury. But he believes he can still affect Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, even if he doesn’t bring him down.
“The quarterback feels the pressure, every time,” Smith said. “He might not go down with the ball in his hands, but he might make a bad throw, throw to the wrong receiver, force something bad, or if I’m not getting to him, someone else (might).”
Justin isn't planning early retirement
San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman Justin Smith may be 33 years old and completing his 12th NFL season, but he doesn’t plan on walking away from the game, even if the 49ers win the Super Bowl.
“I’m not going to retire after this year,” said Smith, the former Missouri star from Jefferson City. “I would like to come back and try to get here (the Super Bowl) again. I realize my career is definitely winding down. I’m not saying I’m going to play another eight years or something like that. I want to play at a high level.
“I don’t want to just be a backup guy, a mentor. I want to help the guys as much as possible, show them all of the stuff I’ve learned from other guys. It’s all just passing the torch, everything you learn from the coaching staffs. I want to do that while I’m playing.”
Smith had played in 185 consecutive games — the most by any active defensive lineman — before he suffered a partial triceps injury late in the season that is requiring him to wear a brace.
Smith said about 50 percent of the tendon is torn, and he’ll undergo surgery in the offseason.
“I really haven’t gone to the doctors yet,” he said. “I figure I will do that after the Super Bowl.”
Aldon Smith, the San Francisco 49ers’ star outside linebacker from Raytown, took inventory of all the talented players at his position in the Super Bowl and came up with a new name for the game.
“You could say it’s the linebacker bowl, right?” Smith said. “There are a lot of guys that can play. You have Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Ahmad Brooks, me, Ray Lewis (and) Terrell Suggs. There’s going to be a lot of talent out there. That’s where we are.”
Smith, a former Missouri Tiger, and teammate Justin Smith, another ex-Tiger, were both voted 49ers team MVPs recently. Aldon Smith received the Bill Walsh Award, which is voted on by the 49ers coaches, while Justin received the Len Eshmont Award, which is voted on by the players.
The two Smiths share a close bond.
“Other than our last names being Smith (and) us going to Missouri, from the time I stepped into the NFL, he was the guy who helped me out with everything,” Aldon said. “I worked out with him during the (2011) lockout and he helped me a lot just coming in my rookie year. Then on the field, we just work well with each other. We feed off each other. We have a rhythm that we just developed together.”
But who did Aldon vote for in the MVP election?
“Randy Moss,” he said. “I was always a big Randy Moss fan when I was a kid.”