San Francisco 49ers defensive end Dee Ford played the 2019 NFL season with “a blown tire.” But after a knee operation in February, Auburn’s former exhibition is ready “to fire quarterbacks.”
Ford was diagnosed with a “severe case of tendonitis” in the preseason, but tried to do so during the regular season. He ended up missing five of the last six games in the San Francisco regular season after suffering a hamstring injury.
But as hard as it could be to sit down, Ford said he had to think about the playoffs.
“Dude, it was so difficult,” said Ford at an online press conference on Friday, “in particular I was in a situation where we had to beat Seattle and I had actually pushed my hamstrings. And I really wanted to play in this game, even if I was just a decoy. When the stage is so big and the stakes are so high, high-profile players come out in these types of games.
“The fact that I missed these opportunities, it definitely hurt me. But we sat down with the coaching staff, which was phenomenal, and we were all on the same page: we had a chance to get it right because we will definitely be in the playoffs. So I had to forget what I was feeling and move on. It was difficult, but that was exactly what we had to do, so I could be available for the Vikings and the Super Bowl and all that. “
Ford wasn’t 100% back from the playoffs, but he tried to “bite the bullet and do what I could.” Ford played 98 defensive shots and had a sack in three games – wins against the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers in the NFC playoffs and a 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl LIV.
After undergoing “fairly thorough cleansing” of his knee by Dr. James Andrews at his facility in Gulf Breeze, Florida, and in rehab in Alabama, Ford told reporters Friday: “I feel very good about this moment. I can actually explode out of that knee. Come to think of it, I can’t believe I played it a whole season. We knew at the end of the day what we had to do had to be surgical, but I didn’t want to miss the season. We had too much. I didn’t want to miss this. But it’s in the bag now. I’m convinced. ”
Ford recorded 13 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, 29 quarter hits and seven forced fumbles at the top of the league in 2018 when it earned Pro Bowl recognition. In 2019, the former St. Clair County High School star had 6.5 sacks while playing 22% of the 49ers’ defensive snaps.
After repairing his knee, Ford expects its best season in 2020.
“The game really does, and it’s crazy to say that you’re entering grade 7, but it is slowing even more, which is more frightening for me,” said Ford. “I could see a lot more, I was just a lot more confident, I just couldn’t stay on the pitch, so alleviating this problem will definitely put me in a good position this year. I try to accumulate as many bags and TFL as possible and help our team get back to the Super Bowl. ”
Mark Inabinett is a sports reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @ AMarkG1.
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