The latest injury situation involving 49ers defensive end Dee Ford has sparked chatter and speculation that it could cause Ford to retire. On Friday, the R-word came up during coach Kyle Shanahan’s videoconference with reporters.
“It’s not being discussed,” Shanahan said, “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. Also, that stuff does loosen up just randomly, too. That’s why we’re playing it slow. I just saw him here a little bit in the hallway on my way here. I think he’s doing better than he was a couple of weeks ago, that’s for sure. 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. So I wouldn’t get to saying all that stuff, but that’s why we’re being cautious with it.”
There’s another important reason for Ford to not retire: He’d owe the 49ers $4.8 million if he did. The better approach would be for him to get through the current season, wait for the 49ers to release him, and walk away with the remainder of his $8 million signing bonus on a five-year deal that was structured to pay out all guaranteed money in the first two years.
He’d exit with nearly $35 million over two years, and then Ford would be able to decide whether to continue his career or whether, due to his health situation, to call it quits.
For now, the 49ers plan to place Ford on injured reserve on Saturday. He has missed two games, and the IR placement guarantees he’ll miss at least three more.