San Francisco 49ers linebacker Malcolm Smith is healthy and will be a full participant in the team's offseason program. He was slated to start alongside NaVorro Bowman last season but suffered a torn pectoral muscle during training camp.

"As a football player, not being able to do the thing you love and the thing that you always dreamed to do since you were a little boy, it was pretty difficult," Smith told reporters on Monday. "Some challenging times personally but it was good to see our growth as a team throughout the year, and I tried to be around as much as possible."

Smith figured to play a big role in the 49ers defense last season. His injury opened up an opportunity for then-rookie linebacker Reuben Foster to move up the depth chart and get more practice reps as the team prepared for the 2017 season. Things have changed since then. Bowman is no longer with the team, and Foster's future with the team is unclear as he faces multiple felony charges in relation to an arrest on February 11.

Smith shared what it is like not having Foster with the team.

"We miss his spirit a lot," he said. "I think just being around the guys. Obviously, he's going through some issues and legal stuff, but we definitely miss his spirit in our group."

The 49ers signed Smith, a former Oakland Raider and Seattle Seahawk, to a five-year deal in March of 2017.