Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

49ers safety Jimmie Ward changing jersey numbers again

Jun 3, 2021 at 2:45 PM--

Add San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward to the lengthy list of NFL players taking advantage of the league relaxing its restrictions on jersey numbers. Ward announced via Instagram that he is changing from No. 20 to No. 1.

Ward started his career as No. 25 but surrendered the number to Richard Sherman in 2018. Now, he is changing it again.

Ward joins several of his defensive back teammates with the number change. Cornerback Emmanuel Moseley switched from No. No. 41 to No. 4. Safety Jaquiski Tartt went from No. 29 to No. 26. Cornerback Jason Verrett is moved from No. 22 to No. 2.

San Francisco made Ward the No. 30 overall pick in 2014, drafting him out of Northern Illinois. According to Pro Football Reference, the safety recorded 73 tackles, a quarterbacks hit, four passes defensed, and two forced fumbles through 14 games last season.

"I kind of know my role in this defense now," Ward told reporters on Wednesday. "But (defensive coordinator) DeMeco (Ryans), he's probably going to mix it up and show me some love, and I appreciate that. But at the end of the day, I want to make DeMeco look good, and I'm a team player. Since I've been in the league, I've been a team player. So, if I've got to (play in) man coverage, if I've got to play in the post to make the team better, then that's what I'll do.

"I don't really care about turnovers. I got paid without having a bunch of turnovers. If I ever get a bunch of turnovers, then hopefully, they can call me the best safety in the league. Until then, I'm going to do what I was doing last year and the year [before] that."

Added Ward: "I wish I could be like some other safeties, and kind of just sit in there and be a robber, but I'm too athletic for that. I can cover, and I can make open-field tackles. So, he's going to use me where he needs me at."

Ward has recorded 324 tackles, nine tackles for a loss, three quarterback hits, two interceptions, three sacks, 33 passes defensed, and four forced fumbles during his seven NFL seasons. He is the longest-tenured 49ers player.

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