The San Francisco 49ers might have to soon imagine a world without Dee Ford in the trenches.
Granted, the 49ers are experienced with the idea given Ford’s injuries over the last two seasons. But Ford, who signed a long-term extension with the San Francisco 49ers last year, may have to soon quit football because of back injuries.
For anyone who thinks the idea of Ford retiring is unrealistic, things have spiraled to the point where 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan had to address it.
Dee Ford impressed in Kansas City
Dee Ford’s career in Kansas City, at least before the 2018 season, could be best described as “fine.”
Ford had a 10-sack, 12-tackle for loss campaign in 2016, but he only had 7.5 sacks in his other three seasons.
Then came 2018, when Ford broke out on defense while Patrick Mahomes broke out on offense. Ford totaled 13 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and forced seven fumbles in 16 games.
The 23rd overall pick in 2014, Ford earned Pro Bowl honors for the first time in 2018. Ford added a sack and a forced fumble in two playoff games.
Ford has battled injuries in San Francisco
With Dee Ford on the verge of a new contract, Kansas City traded him to the San Francisco 49ers for a 2020 second-round pick in March 2019.
No one would have foreseen at the time that both teams would square off in the Super Bowl only 11 months later.
Ford inked a five-year contract worth $85 million — and containing $20.5 million fully guaranteed when he signed the deal — shortly after joining the 49ers. Injuries limited Ford to 11 games and two starts in 2019, but he racked up 6.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in that span.
Ford also had a sack and two tackles for loss in two playoff games.
Ford had three tackles in the 49ers’ Week 1 loss to Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals, but hasn’t played since because of a back injury. San Francisco also listed Ford as having a neck injury in September injury reports.
Kyle Shanahan just discussed Dee Ford’s possible retirement
For now, 49ers fans shouldn’t expect to see Dee Ford on the field anytime soon.
San Francisco is expected to place Ford on injured reserve with a back injury. He can return as soon as late-October, but there is no update on when the 49ers realistically expect him back.
In a recent press conference, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan addressed the possibility of Ford — who turns 30 next spring — retiring because of the injuries.
“It’s not being discussed, and I don’t want to say anything strong that people blow up, but it’s similar to what I said a couple of weeks ago. When you’re dealing with the back and things like that, everything’s a concern.”
Shanahan added he thinks Ford is doing better, but “it’s something we’ve just got to be smart with and you can’t risk things when you’re dealing with that part of the body.”
According to ProFootballTalk, Ford would owe the 49ers $4.8 million if he retired this season. PFT’s Mike Florio suggested Ford wait until the offseason and, if the 49ers cut him then, Ford can “walk away with the remainder of his $8 million signing bonus.”
Ford and the 49ers may have to make difficult decisions this winter and next spring. For now, Ford remains with the team and could play again this season.