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49ers’ Kyle Shanahan explains why he said he would wear Jimmie Ward’s jersey

Oct 18, 2019 at 8:47 AM--

Maybe Kyle Shanahan is trying to spike the sales of Jimmie Ward jerseys. There's been very little doubt surrounding the sixth-year defensive back's ability. The uncertainty has always surrounded his durability and availability. More often than not, Ward's NFL seasons have ended with the San Francisco 49ers defender landing on injured reserve.

Those doubts popped up again before the start of the season when Ward suffered a broken finger during practice. Since his return to the lineup, the often-criticized defender's play on the field has started to change the minds of fans.

The Niner Faithful were finally able to see what the 49ers coaching staff has seen in Ward all this time — a capable player who can make an impact in a game. That was evident against the Los Angeles Rams this past weekend. If Ward can finally stay healthy, all of those criticisms will be forgotten.

Head coach Kyle Shanahan was asked about Ward after Sunday's 20-7 win at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. His response made a few headlines.

"Jimmie is a dog out there," Shanahan said. "We love Jimmie. I would wear his jersey on the sideline if I could."

Shanahan joined KNBR on Friday morning and shared that the comment was not necessarily out of character for the head coach. It was, however, the first time he said something like that to the media.

"I say it a lot in our team meetings with players," Shanahan said on the "Murph and Mac" show. "Like, when people just play a certain style, then I enjoy it as a fan. That's something I always say to them. Like, 'I'm going to wear your jersey this week,' as a true fan. And I say that a lot when guys play a certain way. It was just the first time I said it to the media."

Shanahan went on to reiterate how much he admires Ward and what makes him such a fan of his playing style.

"He doesn't care about anything," Shanahan continued. "He just likes football. He's going to go out there; if you ask him to cover their best receiver, you ask him to cover the best tight end, if you ask him to play linebacker and just fit on a fullback, then he'd play middle-third safety. Whatever you ask him to do, he just nods his head, takes his assignment, and goes to war.

"I just love the style that he plays with. He's reckless in that way. We know he hasn't been able to stay healthy, not by his fault. The guy is one of the toughest guys I've seen.

"So he's just a cool player to watch. I enjoy watching his style, and if I was a fan, I'd buy his jersey."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Shanahan below.

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