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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward only wants to play safety, preferably for the 49ers

Feb 6, 2020 at 4:26 PM--

Who knows what Jimmie Ward's football future holds. He, along with several other San Francisco 49ers players, is scheduled to become a free agent on March 18. For just the second time in his six-year career, Ward finished a season healthy and didn't land on injured reserve.

The durability concerns returned when Ward suffered a broken finger during practice before the start of the regular season, and missed the 49ers' first three games. He started every game after that and finished the season with 65 tackles, a sack, eight passes defensed, and a Pro Football Focus grade of 84.9 — the highest of his career.

Ward made two things clear on Wednesday. First, he would prefer to remain with the team that drafted him in 2014.

"This is a team I would like to play for," Ward told reporters. "They drafted me. I got injured a couple of years (four), and they still gave me an opportunity to show what I could do. I ended up getting 16 games (including playoffs) this year. It was a little different, but I got it.

"I haven't talked to anybody yet, but I can feel it. Talked to my coach. Coach definitely said he wants to keep me here, but it's not up to him. It's further upstairs. But there's a lot of interest right now from both ways.

"Hopefully, they've got the upper hand right now because I do want to be in California."

Ward isn't looking forward to the potential of adjusting to a new team. It would mean finding a new place to live, a new routine, adapting to new faces, and building trust with new teammates. So there is a lot of incentive for him to try to work something out with the 49ers.

The second thing Ward made clear is that he wants to remain at safety and is clearly tired of the experiment of being used at other defensive back spots on defense. Ward stated that he isn't likely to sign with any NFL team that wants him to play anything except safety.

"Safety first, and that's it," Ward added.


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