San Francisco never planned to unleash Ward during offseason sessions, but his name wasn't among the eight players named on the team's non-football and physically unable to perform lists.
"When you're skipping the practice part, you're skipping the most important part," defensive coordinator Vic Fangio recently said. "(Ward) has done everything he can under the circumstances to learn our defense and improve. But he's got to go play."
Seattle's collection of safeties remains the NFL's finest, but the 49ers have used first-rounders on the position two years running. A weakness heading into last season, the back end of San Francisco's defense has solved its depth problems heading into 2014.