SANTA CLARA -- Rookie defensive back Jimmie Ward had a day to remember on his first training camp practice with the 49ers, though he admitted he still has plenty to learn.
The highlight for Ward came when he snared a pass from Colin Kaepernick, intended for wide receiver Stevie Johnson, that hit off the hands of cornerback Chris Cook. Ward picked off the pass before Johnson could make a play.
"It was a good first day," Ward said Thursday. "If I keep making plays like that, maybe I'll be seen and hopefully I'll get some playing time."
Ward played safety and nickel back during practice Thursday. It's uncertain where he'll play in games once the regular season rolls around.
Coach Jim Harbaugh got a look at Ward in some practices before camp started. He said Ward showed many of the attributes that he displayed at Northern Illinois and prompted the 49ers to select him in the first round of the draft in May.
"Good football player," Harbaugh said of Ward. "(We saw) a lot of things that we saw on tape" when watching Ward in pre-camp drills.
Ward said he got schooled a couple of times by veteran receivers Thursday, but he considers that part of the learning curve and intends to be ready the next time
On one play, veteran receiver Anquan Boldin gave what Ward described as a "good swim move. ... I know how to play him tomorrow."
Overall, Ward said he was just thrilled to be in the middle of the action after having missed the OTAs because of a foot injury that required surgery.
"I was just being a sponge and taking in information (during rehab)," Ward said. "Now I'm out here trying to prove myself."
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