The 49ers remain hopeful edge rusher Dee Ford can make a contribution this season.
Ford, 30, sat out all but the 2020 season opener due to a lingering back issue. He did his rehabilitation work at the 49ers’ facility in Santa Clara for 3 1/2 months starting in early February.
Obviously, questions remain once Ford rejoins his teammates for the start of training camp in late July: Will he get cleared to play football? Can he play effectively? And for how long?
“He made a lot of progress in the months that he was rehabbing here,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said. “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.”
The 49ers acquired Ford in a trade with the Kansas City Chiefs in March of 2019 for a second-round draft pick. The 49ers signed Ford to a five-year, $87 million contract extension.
Coming off a 13-sack season in Kansas City, Ford appeared in 11 regular-season games with the 49ers in 2019 and registered 6.5 sacks.
Ford went through an extensive “clean-up’ knee surgery last offseason after Super Bowl LIV. He likened the tendinitis he endured throughout the 2019 season to playing on a “blown tire.”
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Now, there is considerable skepticism that Ford can ever return to the form of the player the 49ers believed they were acquiring from Kansas City.
The 49ers signed edge rusher Samson Ebukam in the offseason to serve as a nickel pass-rusher opposite Nick Bosa.
Ebukam appeared in every game during his first four NFL seasons with the Los Angeles Rams. He recorded 4.5 sacks in each of the past two seasons.