A hamstring injury has put the availability of San Francisco 49ers veteran safety Jimmie Ward in Week 1 of the 2022 NFL season in jeopardy. In what appears to be a move to ensure they have the depth at the position by the time they take on the Chicago Bears on Sep. 11 on the road, the 49ers are reportedly signing safety Tashaun Gipson, per Adam Schefter of ESPN.

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Gipson last suited up for the Bears in the 2021 NFL season. He played for the Bears for two seasons from 2020 to 2021, so his familiarity at least of playing at Soldier Field will come in handy for the 49ers’ defense was a strength of the team last season. San Francisco allowed just 20.6 points per game in the 2021 NFL campaign, and while the 49ers weren’t among the best in forcing interceptions, they limited opponents to only 213.1 passing yards per contest — good for seventh overall in the league.

Jimmie Ward hurt his hamstring during practice last week, and it seems to be significant enough to force the 49ers to seek help from free agency. Gipson earned a Pro Bowl appearance in 2014 when he was still with the Cleveland Browns. He did not hear his name during the 2012 NFL Draft but was signed by the Browns to a three-year deal worth $1.44 million. So far in his NFL career, Gipson has collected 27 interceptions and three touchdowns across 140 games. After his stint with the Browns, Gipson played for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Houston Texans before landing a job with the Bears.