Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports


Kyle Shanahan keeping his ‘fingers crossed’ that Dee Ford can return to the 49ers

Jun 10, 2021 at 9:37 AM--


One of the blink-and-you-missed-it comments from San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan yesterday involved an update on veteran pass rusher Dee Ford. The defender has not played since September 13, 2020, the week before the team lost Nick Bosa to a season-ending injury. While Ford dealt with neck and back injuries, there was always hope that he might return at some point during the season.

That never happened, and Ford did not play another snap after his 46 on defense in Week 1.

When Ford has been on the field, he has proven to be disruptive. However, the pass rusher has appeared in just 12 games since the 49ers traded for him in 2019. He was supposed to be one of the answers to San Francisco's pass-rushing woes. The team later drafted Bosa to complement Ford and create a formidable problem for opposing quarterbacks.

Ford spent much of the offseason rehabbing at the team's facility in Santa Clara. He left before the start of organized team activities (OTAs), though.

"He's been here since the beginning of February doing everything," Shanahan said. "Had about three and a half months here. And a week before everyone came back, he went back to Kansas City with his back specialist."

Ford had planned to return. While OTAs are voluntary, next week's previously scheduled three-day minicamp was to be mandatory. He was unlikely to practice, but the defender was expected to be in attendance, rejoining his teammates.

Shanahan canceled the last two practices of OTAs and next week's minicamp after the team lost two players to severe injuries on Monday.

"He was going to come out here next week, but if he comes, there's not going to be too many people here left again," Shanahan said. "But he made a lot of progress in the months that he was rehabbing here.

"We knew we weren't going to put him through OTAs because we don't want his back to act up. So I'm just keeping my fingers crossed, and I'm hoping he can come ready to go in training camp, and hopefully, he can help us out this year."

Ford remains signed through the 2022 season and 2023 is a void year that only pays the defender the final portion of his prorated bonus. The team restructured his contract in March, picking up about $11 million in salary-cap relief in the process.

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