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Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Dee Ford explains why his sights are set on playing every down for 49ers

Sep 10, 2020 at 4:03 PM--

Dee Ford is well-respected as a great NFL pass rusher. That isn't how he wants to be known, though. The San Francisco 49ers defensive end wants to be known as a great overall defender, and not a situational player.

Ford suffered a calf injury during training camp and finally returned to practice this week. He told reporters on Thursday that he feels fine and is ready for the 2020 season.

"When you're dealing with a calf, you don't want to risk it getting to that Achilles tendon," Ford said of the training-camp setback. "At the end of the day, we had to jump on it because our goal, and especially my goal, which is the team's goal, is to be there 16 games plus postseason. And I'm not going to waive on that at all. We just had to get that (injury) right."

Ford was limited by injuries last season but still managed to rack up 6.5 sacks while showing that he can be a disruptive force along the edge. The pass rusher has his sights set on a more significant workload this season.

Much more.

Most assumed that Arik Armstead would line up on base downs, and Ford would enter the game during passing situations. The veteran was asked on Thursday if he expects to play more on early downs.

"Every down. Every down. Every down," Ford responded. "Pass rushing is what I do, but I make plays, at the end of the day. Pass rushing is what I do, but my goal is to be a great defensive player, not a great pass rusher. So, first, second, and third down. Fourth down, if we need it."

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