A text popped up on Jimmie Ward's phone on Sunday from a number he didn't recognize.
"What's up?" it read.
Ward has a strict policy of not responding to calls or texts from numbers he doesn't have programmed into his address book. Turns out, he was unintentionally ignoring his newest teammate.
"I'm not sure how he figured I would know who it was," Ward said, laughing.
Just to be clear, Ward already knew that the San Francisco 49ers had signed Richard Sherman. He found that out when he logged onto Facebook and saw all the photoshopped images of Sherman's head on his own body.
"I looked on Facebook and saw Richard Sherman's head on my body," Ward said. "That was too funny."
Anyways, Arik Armstead reached out later on Sunday, notifying Ward that Sherman was trying to get a hold of him (Ward wasn't sure how Armstead knew, but that's beside the point). Ward immediately knew that Sherman was in search of his coveted No. 25.
The pair of defensive backs chatted over the phone, each sharing their own sentiments surrounding the number. Sherman explained that it would mean a lot to him to keep 25 with the 49ers. Ward obliged and gave it to Sherman for only minimal compensation in return. He asked for a signed jersey from Sherman, a player he's respected for some time now.
"I respect anyone who's an All-Pro corner and has made the Pro Bowl multiple times," Ward said.
Now the two will join forces in San Francisco's secondary.
"I think it's awesome," Ward said. "I heard he only took one visit. That's a plus for John and Kyle. It tells you a lot about where this organization is headed. They're doing some great stuff upstairs."
As for Ward's new number, he mulled over a few options. The top three were 46 (his old high school number), 27 and 20. Ward opted for 20. Why? He didn't have any particular reason, but he's eager to make a name for himself in his new digs.
"I can make a play in No. 20," Ward joked.
Ward is a part of a talented core in the 49ers secondary that is highlighted by Sherman, Jaquiski Tartt, Ahkello Witherspoon and Adrian Colbert. Most are likely to see cornerback and safety as two positions of strength on San Francisco's roster by the time training camp rolls around.
Hopefully by that time Ward will have Sherman's number saved in his phone.