Against all odds, Dee Ford is back practicing with the 49ers and seems to be carving out a role with the team once again.
Suffering neck and back injuries the previous two seasons, Ford's health has kept him off the field for a combined 20 games since 2019.
There was plenty of speculation this offseason that the 49ers might opt to move on from the oft-injured pass rusher. They did not, and now their loyalty to Ford might pay off big time.
Defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans provided an update on Ford's status two weeks into training camp.
“Yeah, first and foremost, it’s good to see Dee back out there," Ryans told the media Saturday. "I just understand how it is going through injuries and being, just feel like an outcast almost, whereas always in the training room, pushing forward.
"So first and foremost, it’s an accomplishment just for him just to be back out there. And he’s done a good job with the reps that he’s been given. He’s done a good job. He’s moving forward, progressing every day. So just excited for him and where he can go."
If Ford is able to return to the field as a situational pass-rusher, the 49ers' defensive line -- led by Nick Bosa -- could revert back to the level of dominance that propelled them to the Super Bowl just two seasons ago.
"You see those glimpses when he does take a few reps, you see those glimpses of Dee, just his explosiveness, his speed off of the ball," Ryans said. "You see those glimpses. Reminds you of where he was a couple of years ago."