TAMPA, Fla. — For the second consecutive season, San Francisco 49ers safety Jimmie Ward’s season got here to an abrupt, early finish due to a damaged forearm.
This time, the harm may also sign the tip of the previous first-round choose’s tenure with the 49ers.
Niners coach Kyle Shanahan mentioned after Sunday’s 27-9 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers that he was “fairly positive” the harm will sideline Ward for the crew’s remaining 5 video games of the season.
Which means Ward now heads off into an unsure future as his rookie contract is ready to expire at season’s finish on the heels of an injury-marred first 5 seasons.
“I wished to end the season off,” Ward mentioned. “Safety is straightforward for me. It is pure. Nook, I simply began taking part in nook after I obtained within the league so every play, every sport, I simply began getting higher, identical to I used to be getting higher at safety. So, I will be all proper. I am going to bounce again and I am going to ball.”
With 12:11 left within the first quarter, Ward tackled Tampa Bay working again Peyton Barber after an 11-yard acquire and did not instantly seem to be in ache. Ward mentioned he felt regular after the sort out however when he stood up he might hear “clicks” in his decrease left forearm. Ward tried to keep on the sphere for an additional play however the subsequent play was stopped for a penalty.
“I felt like that was God telling me simply ‘Nah, take it in,'” Ward mentioned. “In order that’s after I took a knee and obtained an X-ray. I informed them it was tousled earlier than I even obtained the X-ray. Earlier than I even obtained the X-ray I knew what time it was.”
Rookie D.J. Reed obtained the primary alternative to step in for Ward, however he departed with a heel harm. Veteran Antone Exum Jr. changed Reed, who additionally didn’t return to the sport.
Ward’s newest harm, which is to the identical arm that was injured final yr — although in a special spot, comes weeks after Adrian Colbert, the crew’s preliminary beginning free safety, was positioned on injured reserve due to a excessive ankle sprain.
Ward began the previous 4 video games, together with Sunday’s, in Colbert’s place and had earned reward from defensive coordinator Robert Saleh for making a easy transition again to that place after spending the start of the yr at cornerback.
Bouncing between nook and safety has grow to be a trademark of Ward’s profession and has made it troublesome for him to settle in. Regardless of that fixed motion, the Niners saved Ward this yr on his fifth-year choice, paying him $eight.526 million to function a type of utility man within the secondary.
The Niners drafted Ward with the No. 30 general choose in 2014, however his bodily taking part in fashion has contributed to an lack of ability to keep on the sphere. Ward has performed greater than 11 video games simply as soon as in his 5 seasons, taking part in all 16 video games in 2015.
“That is simply how I’ve performed… I simply play bodily,” Ward mentioned. “I do not know no different manner however to play. Nook, bodily, nickel, bodily, safety, bodily. It is only a powerful break and when it occurs, it occurs. I have been right here earlier than. I am simply going to grind and get again.”