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Golden Nuggets: Cowboy Rides Off

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Tuesday, May 19th, 2015 edition of the Golden Nuggets, a daily compilation of San Francisco 49ers links from the Internet

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

That fateful day we were expecting arrived. The Cowboy, Justin Smith, is retiring from football after 14 years. With the injuries, he decided to step away from the game he still has passion for. This gives the Niners another big personality in the locker room leaving. The Niners core of Frank Gore, Justin Smith, and Patrick Willis is officially gone. The voices of the locker room are gone.

Justin Smith, along with Patrick Willis, were the faces of one of the NFL's best defenses the last few years. Justin was a massive force for the defensive line. He made Aldon Smith's job easier by taking on double teams allowing Aldon to wreck havoc on the quarterback. He allowed Willis and NaVorro Bowman free reign to attack running backs and quarterbacks. When Justin was out injured, the defense took steps back. He was the anchor of the defense.

Justin Smith will go down as a great 49er. He was a big free agent signing from Cincinnati and helped change the franchise around. He played with passion, heart, and lots of power. He destroyed offensive lines, wrecked running backs, and made the Niners defense elite. He will be missed and not easily replaced. Ride off into the sunset Cowboy.

49ers Links

A position of need brought in competition | Five CBs Brought In (Maiocco)

Niners ACL Comebacks (Inman)

Thompson Has Long Way To Go (Williams)

Hayne Looks Good (Barrows)

We knew that was coming | Justin Smith Retiring (Alper)

Justin Smith Retires After 14 Years (Maiocco)

Retirement (Inman)

So Long, Cowboy (Barrows)

Smith Retires (Gin)

Many good FA throughout the years | Top 10 FA (Emerick)

Smith Retires (Biderman)

Smith's Upper Body Broken Down (Barrows)

Justin's Transcript (Inman)

Left Side Of The Body Not Responding (Gin)

More Signings (49ers Staff)

When he was on the field, he was great. When he was off the field, the defense took a step back | Injuries Ended Cowboy's Career (Gutierrez)

Couldn't Stop The Pain (Biderman)

A great career as a Niner | Looks Back On Storied Career (Price)

Sign 2 Tryout Players (Gutierrez)

A Lookback At Justin Smith (Barrows)