NFL Rumors: Two Key Defensive Backs Could Return for 49ers in Week 5

Things are looking up for the San Francisco 49ers. After a dominant Week 4 Monday Night Football win over their division rival Los Angeles Rams, the team now appears poised to jump another level on defense. Safety Jimmie Ward and cornerback Jason Verrett are eligible to return to practice this week following early season stints on injured reserve and the player unable to perform list. Verrett continues to recover from an unfortunate ACL tear that cost him all but one game of 2021, and Ward went down with a hamstring injury in the preseason. They've both been crucial contributors for the 49ers when healthy; Ward had started 43 of a possible 49 games in his previous three seasons, and Verrett earned a strong 77.6 overall grade from Pro Football Focus when he was last healthy in 2020. However, injuries have proven an enormous issue for Verrett; he has appeared in only 20 games since the beginning of the 2016 season.
Ward joined the 49ers as their 30th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft and grew into a consistent starter for the team in 2016. He has played every game of his career for the 49ers, tallying four interceptions and 39 passes defended across his 94 appearances. Verrett was also a first-round pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, going 25th overall to the Chargers. He got off to a fast start, earning a Pro Bowl in his second year, but injuries quickly derailed his career. He teased tantalizing potential in 13 starts for the 49ers in 2020 but tore his ACL in Week 1 of the 2021 regular season. 
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