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Report: Jimmie Ward expected to follow DeMeco Ryans to Houston

By Kyle Madson,


The 49ers on Monday lost another defensive veteran to the Houston Texans. NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport reported Ward, an unrestricted free agent, is expected to join the Texans.

Ward had been with San Francisco since they selected him in the first round of the 2014 draft. He overcame some injury woes to become an integral part of their defense as a free safety and slot corner.

Last season his free safety job was taken by veteran Tashuan Gipson, while Ward slid down to take on a full time nickel cornerback role.

With Gipson back in San Francisco, Ward’s return likely would’ve put him back at nickel CB, a position he never sounded particularly thrilled about playing. Now he’ll join Ryans’ defense in Houston to help offer a veteran presence for a rebuilding group.

The 49ers still have just three safeties signed, including Gipson, Talanoa Hufanga and George Odum. They’ll add at least one more either through free agency or the draft.

In nine years with the 49ers, Ward played in 106 games with 79 starts. He posted 451 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, seven interceptions and 44 pass breakups.

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