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Kyle Shanahan says 49ers will continue to ‘be smart’ with Dee Ford

Jul 28, 2021 at 12:42 PM


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Dee Ford hit the practice field with his San Francisco 49ers teammates today — the team's first practice of training camp. The veteran pass rusher didn't participate in team drills but did get some work during individual drills.

Ford appeared in just one game last season before being sidelined for the remaining games due to neck and back problems. There was some concern whether or not he would even be ready for the start of the 2021 season, given the severity of the injuries.

Ford reportedly looked good in today's limited work. However, the 49ers will remain cautious with his progression.

"I've seen the history, and we've got to be smart with it," head coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters after practice. "It's been a tough situation for him and us, just going through it and the sensitivity of his injury. I try to never get too high or too low with it. I mean, if Dee Ford's healthy and can play, we all know how much he's going to help us and how much he did when he was healthy in 2019."


The 49ers traded for Ford in 2019 to use the Pro Bowl defender to improve a then-struggling pass rush. The team envisioned bookending him with rookie Nick Bosa, creating a dominant force coming off both edges. It worked. The additions instantly improved San Francisco's pass rush.

Shanahan is hoping that Ford can return to form and be a significant contributor in 2021. However, nothing is a given.

"I keep my fingers crossed, but I sit there, and I'm not going to hope or wish," Shanahan continued. "We're just going to go about our business, and if things work out for him, it's going to be a hell of a deal for him, and it's a hell of a deal for the Niners."
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