Jason Verrett and Jimmie Ward spoke to the media on Wednesday afternoon after practice. Verrett is usually quiet and reserved, while Ward is a man of few words himself. That wasn’t the case Wednesday, especially in Ward’s case.
Ward talked about his chipper attitude, as it was evident he was in a talking mood. Ward was over the top when Sports Illustrated’s Grant Cohn asked him a question. Ward told Grant that he loves his show and that it’s about time he started giving him some love. It was a side of Jimmie we haven’t seen.
Here’s Ward’s explanation for being more open:
I want to say at the beginning of my career I felt like I took so much heat in the media and just playing out there. I was moved from corner to nickel to safety. I don’t know one person that’s in the league right now that was able to do that and still have a successful career. Like, still on a team and not get traded or not get released.
I was able to stand through a storm. I’m still here. I’m still with the same team. My peers love me, my teammates, and my coaches. I’m trying to stay consistent.
Ward jokingly said he doesn’t do podcasts because he slurs his words when he’s not in a talking mood and tends to avoid answering the question — not unlike above.
I asked Ward how he’s making some of the younger players that will play multiple positions as Ward did when he first entered the league more comfortable with learning the playbook.
Learning one position can be overwhelming, so I can’t imagine what it would be like to learn two or three positions. So here’s Ward’s answer:
I kind of tell them my story. Everyone always tells you when you’re young, ‘the more you can do, the more you can do.’ That’s true. As a rookie, you’re looking for playing time. Unless you went first-round or something, then it’s given to you.
At the end of the day, you still have to work for it. I always tell them the more you can do. At the end of the day, try to get good at one spot too. Once they leave you, pick and choose that one spot and get good at it.
Try to do the other spots that the coach is telling you, but some guys don’t have that option. Some guys are undrafted or late-round picks, and you have to do more. You have to play special teams, nickel, strong safety, free safety, you know how it goes.
Whether Talanoa Hufanga, Demmodore Lenoir, or Ambry Thomas, each of those players could learn multiple spots. Having a guy like Ward to lean on and Jaquiski Tartt and Tarvarius Moore will only speed up the rookies learning curve.
His answer on leadership highlighted Ward’s bubbly mood:
If I gotta be an a**hole, I know I gotta do it. If I gotta be an a**hole, I’ll be an a**hole. If I gotta be a big brother, I’ll be a big brother. If I gotta be a coach, I’ll be a coach. But, I can’t do none of that if I don’t lead by example.
Reason No. 137 to root for Ward.