San Francisco 49ers WR DeAndre Smelter is entering his second year with the team after taking a red shirt year to rehab his torn ACL. He met with the media on Wednesday before the local Pro Day, and for the moment, he's trying his hardest to not even think about his knee, or talk about it. Smelter says he no longer needs any special preparation for workouts, he's "doing what everyone else is doing." In fact, he says, he feels like he could have played in games towards the end of last season if he needed to.
Smelter, who has only been playing football for a couple of years, is excited to get to work with new head coach Chip Kelly, and feels like he has a lot to offer the team in his up tempo system. He feels his physicality in all aspects of the game is one of his best attributes. It's been nearly a year and a half since he has given or taken a hit, and he can't wait to get on the field not only to hit, but to feel the speed of the game again.
Since the age of 2 or 3, Smelter has been playing baseball. During the offseason, he practiced running routes with a baseball glove, catching a baseball, just to change it up. He feels like there is a lot of young depth at the WR position and thinks that all three of the quarterbacks on the roster throw a "good ball" so he's not worried about who is at the helm.
Smelter cites the leadership of veterans Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith as important role models for him going through his rookie season, even though he wasn't on the field with them. "You can really just see the way [Boldin] works. For somebody to be in the league as long as he has, obviously he's doing something right, you know, just the way he goes about his business, whether it's getting out there everyday a little bit before, to work on his body or coming in on our days off to make sure he's fresh for the next week. I learned a lot from Anquan."
Smith has been a valuable resource as well, "Torrey has just been there and done that. Anytime anybody needs a question [answered] we always know who we can go to in Torrey. He's a professional. He's been in the league for longer than anybody else in the receiving room has been, so he's good to look up to."
Smelter's goal for the season is to "really just to get out on the field. I remember when I first played at [Georgia] Tech close to my junior, senior year. That first time being on the field was amazing so, I just want to find any way to get out on the field." If Boldin doesn't return, Smelter is ready and willing to step into the number two WR position but will also take any role. He did play a little special teams in Georgia returning punts and kickoffs.
Fun fact: Smelter's hands are 11" which were the largest in the 2015 draft.