Missed calls and text messages flooded the cell phone of San Francisco 49ers first-round draft pick
The native of Mobile Ala. didn’t even sleep after being selected 30th in the 2014 NFL Draft.
“It was an awesome experience,” Ward said in his Friday introductory press conference. “I didn’t know where I was going to go in the draft, so it’s a blessing to come and play for one of the top teams in the NFL.”
On the car ride home to Mobile, Ward followed the first 11 draft selections on Instagram. He didn’t expect to be a first-round pick, but when he got home to watch picks 12 through 32, his phone rang when the 49ers were on the clock at 30.
“It’s the draft,” Ward said, “you don’t know how it’s going to shake (out) or know what’s going to happen in the end. I ended up going in the first round, so I’m very thankful and I’m very happy for that.”
Hours after the biggest night of his football career, Ward hopped on a plane to the Bay Area and toured his new football home on Friday.
Ward looked wide-eyed with excitement as he spoke to the press. Dressed in a khaki suit with a red tie, he was all smiles while talking about his whirlwind experience. He didn’t have time to pack much; he only brought clothes to wear for his press conference and a few other things. The rookie defensive back was given a team gear to last him for the next few weeks.
Ward said he met veterans in the locker room and connected with starting quarterback
“Pretty cool guy,” Ward said. “He looks like my cousin, that’s what I told him when I first met him. I was like, ‘Hey, you look like my cousin.’ And his name is Nick, so it’s kind of a coincidence.”
Ward said he’s looking forward to meeting second-year safety
Ward will get a chance to practice with them shortly. As soon as his fractured foot is medically cleared, which Ward expects to happen in two to three weeks, the rookie will take part in San Francisco’s offseason program.
Ward said he’s in no rush to return to Mobile either way.
“With how this weather feels compared to Mobile, I might not go back,” the new defensive back said with a smile. “It’s like 110 degrees in Mobile, and it’s humid.”
Ward said he’s pleased to be a part of the 49ers and felt like his versatile talents as a slot cornerback and safety meshed well with his attitude.
“Nobody wants a jerk on their team,” Ward said. “If you have a jerk and somebody that’s all about themselves, it’s not going to fit in a great program like the 49ers. You have to be all about the team. You have to be able to contribute. I think it’s about my skills but also about my character.”
Pulling up to the team’s headquarters on Friday for the first time, the reality of joining a Super Bowl-contending team fully became a reality.
Ward summed up the experience like this:
“When you’re around great guys and a winning program like this, you know you’re in a good situation.”