After missing almost the entirety of the 2020 campaign, Dee Ford returned in 2021 for the San Francisco 49ers and appeared in the first six games of the season.
The veteran pass rusher has been dealing with an intricate back and neck injury that kept him sidelined for all but one game last season. Entering into the season, the 49ers were optimistic Ford's injury was behind him, however, after taking a hit in Week 7 that triggered his chronic injury the 49ers opted to place the edge rusher on Injured Reserve.
Following the league mandate that allows players to become eligible to return from IR after missing three games, the 49ers opened Ford's practice window in Week 11, however, a setback that week has kept the Pro Bowl pass rusher sidelined. Teams have 21 days from a player's open window to be promoted to the active roster. With a Wednesday deadline, the 49ers and Ford failed to believe he'd be able to return to the field, ultimately ending all hopes of a potential return.
Contrary to many reports, the 49ers have yet to discuss the future of the pass rusher and have had no conversations on parting ways with Ford.
Over his first three seasons in San Francisco, Ford has played in 18 games and notched 9.5 sacks, 10 quarterback hits, 21 tackles (eight for loss), three forced fumbles and one pass defended.
In a text message with NFL Network's Mike Silver, Ford said he plans to continue to work on his rehab this offseason away from the 49ers team facility.
"I'm going to be getting rehab and taking the time needed to get back and I was saying goodbye to the boys because I wouldn't be in the building," the message said. "We are still rolling we're just taking the time needed."