Fred Warner explains ‘competitive’ mentality in 49ers practices

May 19, 2023, 2:00 PM | Updated: 2:13 pm

Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers fire up the team on the fields before the NFC Wild Card ...

SANTA CLARA, CA - JANUARY 14: Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers fire up the team on the fields before the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on January 14, 2023 in Santa Clara, California. The 49ers defeated the Seahawks 41-23. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

(Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images)

San Francisco 49ers’ all-pro linebacker Fred Warner is the embodiment of the team’s style of play: Hard, physical, 100% at all times. And while that’s perfectly acceptable for any game, sometimes his competitive nature spills over onto the practice.

Receiving the Dwight Clark Award last week for being a great teammate, Warner shared that his fiery personality can lead to a semi-hostile environment on the practice field.

Often seen chirping at his own offensive counterparts, the BYU alum likes to agitate his teammates during the week. But it’s all about creating a balance, according to Warner, allowing his team to get used to playing on the road.

“Honestly, you want to create such a competitive atmosphere in practice for when the regular season comes and it’s time to play these other teams,” Warner said last week.

The trash talk isn’t exclusive to players underperforming either, seen going at offensive superstars Christian McCaffrey and Deebo Samuel as well. It’s all part of the strategy though, wanting to add more fuel to the fire of his team’s desire to win.

“I want Brandon Aiyuk, Christian McCaffrey, the Deebo Samuels, I want these guys to be like, ‘Man, Fred and them have just been beating us up all camp, we’re ready for whatever now,'” the linebacker continued.

The 49ers have been knocking on the door of Super Bowl title No. 6, making appearances in the last three of four NFC Championship games. A five-year veteran, Warner knows it takes more than talent to win a ring, hoping to instill a competitive atmosphere, from the jump, each season.

“When you have that competitive atmosphere where we’re giving it back and forth to each other, that’s what breeds championship football,” Fred  Warner said. “I know we haven’t gotten there quite yet, but we’re so close,” he stated.

While some chatter may get out of hand, that’s never the team captain’s intention.

The BYU alum embraces the brotherhood of football, willing to go the extra mile for each & every one of his teammates on the 53-man roster. That’s what Warner hopes to accomplish with his mind games, being tough on his teammates so that they can withstand the pressure from opposing sidelines.

“That’s really why I do what I do, because I truly love what I do,” he said. “When I go out on the practice field in the second or third week of training camp when it’s the hardest, that’s when I thrive. I love it too much to ever get tired of it.

“It is a balance. Once you’re off the practice field, it’s all love. The closest teams are the best teams. And I think that’s what’s been amazing about being with the Niners. It’s always been a brotherhood, past and present. So it’s just good fun.”

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