49ers Fred Warner unfazed by 2023 NFL DPOY talk

Oct 9, 2023, 12:30 PM | Updated: 1:10 pm

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers celebrates after forcing a fumble, recovered by Kevin Gi...

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers dominated Week 5’s clash with the Dallas Cowboys in every way, especially on defense. And that’s in larger part to the play of Fred Warner.

San Francisco’s All-Pro linebacker was on one against the Cowboys, recording eight combined tackles, one sack, one interception, one pass breakup and one forced fumble. Holding their rivals to only 10 points, Warner and the defense were satisfied with the outcome, making that very apparent after the fact.

“That ain’t half-bad right there,” Fred Warner said with a smirk as he approached the podium postgame.

The Red & Gold superstar has been in the conversation for best middle linebacker in the league for the past few years, making an even greater claim to the throne Sunday night. Sure, it was a group effort, with the defense getting home for four sacks on quarterback Dak Prescott. But it’s the leadership and consistency of Warner that keeps SF on the throttle, with calls for him to be in the running for Defensive Player of the Year this season. But the player could care less, more concerned with helping his team win.

“If they put me in the conversation, great,” Warner said. “To me, I know what I have to contribute to this team. I know the caliber of player I am, and I don’t need anyone else’s recognition or people to tell me how great I am.”

DPOY has typically been reserved for pass rushers in recent seasons, with teammate Nick Bosa winning the award for 2022. Before that, cornerback Stephon Gilmore was the last non-edge-rusher to win (2019). And before that: Luke Kuechly, the last middle linebacker to be named best defensive player in the NFL (2013).

Fred Warner is starting to put together a case for it, leading the 49ers in tackles (41). He is also third in sacks (2), and second in tackles for loss (3) and pass breakups (3). If he were to continue on this projection, he’d finish with 139 combined tackles, almost seven sacks and 10 pass breakups. 

But as previously stated, Warner doesn’t care about individual accolades, focused on being the best teammate he can be.

“I want to be the best person I can be and the best player I can be for my teammates and for this team,” Warner stated. “We know what we have ahead of us and the goals we’ve set out for ourselves. All the other stuff will take care of itself when you’re doing things the right way day in and day out. I’m just really grateful for this moment, seriously.”

Warner’s humility won’t stop his teammates from giving him his flowers though, with others paying their respects to their captain.

“He’s the best in the world,” 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa said about Fred Warner. “It’s not close.”

Upcoming San Francisco 49ers Schedule

  • Sunday, October 15th @ Cleveland Browns – 10:00 AM PST
  • M0nday, October 23rd @ Minnesota Vikings – 5:15 PM PST
  • Sunday, October 29th vs. Cincinnati Bengals – 1:25 PM PST
  • Sunday, November 12th @ Jacksonville Jaguars – 10:00 AM PST
  • Sunday, November 19th vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers- 1:05 PM PST

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