SAN FRANCISCO -- The 49ers have yet to announce their team awards. But when they do, it will come as no surprise when defensive lineman Justin Smith is named the winner of the Bill Walsh Award as the team's most valuable player.Coach Jim Harbaugh has made that declaration several times in recent weeks, emphasizing Smith's significant contributions to the 49ers defense.Smith was his usual impressive self on Saturday in the 49ers' 36-32 victory over the New Orleans Saints in an NFC divisional-round game.And the player who has done everything for the 49ers defense, did a little for the offense, too.In addition to playing all 80 defensive snaps in the game, Smith also entered as an extra blocker for three offensive snaps. Smith delivered a block on left defensive end Cameron Jordan to help running back Frank Gore pick up 5 yards and a first down on the second play of the game.But Smith was more than just a bit player on defense.He recorded a sack of quarterback Drew Brees and, at times, manhandled Saints Pro Bowl left tackle Jermon Bushrod, who surrendered just three sacks in 16 regular-season games. Smith kept constant pressure on Brees with five quarterback hurries."That'd be a tall statement to say it was his most complete game," 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. "But, obviously, he came up big. He was ready. You could just sense it him all week. Particularly as the game got closer. This game meant a lot to him. He was going to bring it and he did."Smith was a first-team All-Pro selection at defensive tackle. He was a second-team All-Pro selection at defensive end. He was selected to his third consecutive Pro Bowl. And Smith is also a candidate for NFL Defensive Player of the Year.Smith did not make a Pro Bowl while with the Cincinnati Bengals, where he spent his first seven NFL seasons. He also never experienced a playoff victory, going 0-1 when the Bengals made the playoffs in 2005."In training camp this year, on the cover of our notebook was a picture of him and I had on there 0-1," Fangio said. "He had only played in one playoff game in his career and he was 0-1. Our main goal from the first day of training camp was to get him back in the playoffs and get that goose egg off the board. And we did that."
SANTA CLARA -- The 49ers on Friday waived linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong to clear a roster spot.
The 49ers will activate defensive lineman Tank Carradine from injured reserve, coach Kyle Shanahan said. Carradine missed seven games after sustaining an ankle injury against the Los Angeles Rams on Sept. 21.
Armstrong started five games for the 49ers early in the season before losing his job. Reuben Foster returned to the starting line after missing time with ankle and ribs injuries. Veteran Brock Coyle has established himself as the starting middle linebacker.
Armstrong ranks second on the 49ers behind Jaquiski Tartt with 53 tackles on the season. He also leads the 49ers with two interceptions. Then-general manager Trent Baalke signed Armstrong to a two-year contract extension last December that included a $500,000 signing bonus.
The 49ers will have their largest group of healthy inactive players on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks. However, right tackle Trent Brown is questionable after sustaining a shoulder injury late in Thursday's practice, Shanahan said.
49ERS INJURY REPORT
S Adrian Colbert (thumb)
T Trent Brown (shoulder)
RB Raheem Mostert (shoulder)
WR Trent Taylor (ribs)
DE Solomon Thomas (knee)
Bay Area sports teams and your favorite players have plenty to be thankful for this year.
Check out how the teams and players are celebrating Thanksgiving in 2017.
Grateful for all of our fans. Happy Thanksgiving! 🦃 pic.twitter.com/B6Kxu3SrLE— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving! pic.twitter.com/lYnC6IA5xQ— Hunter Pence (@hunterpence) November 23, 2017
Your preference of pie today?— Oakland Athletics 🌳🐘⚾️ (@Athletics) November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canes and Niners out there!! Love y’all 🙏🏾🙏🏾— Adrian Colbert (@AdrianColbert25) November 23, 2017
Be Kind, Be thoughtful, Be genuine, but most of all, Be thankful #happythanksgivingeveryone— jerryrice (@JerryRice) November 23, 2017
Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy your family and friends! 🍗🌽🍻— Bradley Pinion (@pinion92) November 23, 2017
Happy TG.... I'm Thankful.... Yes Lawd!!!!— Shawn Lynch (@MoneyLynch) November 23, 2017