What Warner, Greenlaw knew about each other when entering NFL

What Warner, Greenlaw knew about each other when entering NFL originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw have established themselves as a premier NFL linebacker pairing, but when exactly did their familiarity with one another begin?

During an exclusive interview with NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on "49ers Talk," Greenlaw revealed that before being drafted by San Francisco, he noticed Warner while watching the 49ers play in 2018, dropping a hilarious quip about his beloved teammate.

"I wasn't a big NFL guy; I wasn't watching the NFL all the time, but I saw a few 49ers games, and I just remember looking out there like, 'Dang, man. [number] 48 is kind of little," Greenlaw told Maiocco with a hearty chuckle. "Because he was young, you could tell he didn't have the body right away; he just didn't look all the way like a linebacker [back] then

"I saw a couple of 49ers games, and I definitely saw 48 out there. He got a lot better, though, man. The difference between his first year and his second year. Oh my god."

Warner broke into the NFL as a 21-year-old rookie after the 49ers selected him with the 70th overall pick in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The three-time All-Pro now is viewed as the gold standard at his position, but things weren't always so seamless for Warner. He detailed the difficulties he faced as a young player tasked with learning a new position on the fly while being surrounded by a group of decorated veterans who depended on him.

"Back then, I was treading water," Warner explained. "I had never played off-ball linebacker, I had never given calls and I'm being thrust into the defense and being told to lead this group of men in terms of playing the MIKE position.

"I had to force [DeForest] Buckner, Arik Armstead, Richard Sherman on the outside, Jaquiski Tartt, Jimmie Ward, all these guys. I'm starstruck every time I get in the huddle. It was rough, it was rough. I was still trying to find my way, my footing. Luckily on the mental side of it, I was able to catch on to that part quick and that allowed me to be out there with those guys."

The 49ers selected Greenlaw in the fifth round of the 2019 NFL Draft after he starred at the University of Arkansas. His introduction to the league came in a star-studded linebacker room coached by now-Houston Texans head coach DeMeco Ryans.

Warner revealed that he wasn't familiar with Greenlaw coming into the league but quickly learned there was something special about his new teammate.

"Nah, I didn't know anything about Mr. Dre Greenlaw," Warner told Maiocco with a smile. "We signed [Kwon] Alexander [and] the dude brought such a swag and energy to the group right away from day one. We had these two rookies … Azeez Al-Shaair and Dre Greenlaw, and them two were like two peas in a pod. I remember DeMeco [Ryans] having to get on them.

"Too happy at practice," Greenlaw hilariously interjected.

"Dre, from Day 1, you could tell he had something special about him," Warner shared. "When he got his opportunity, he took it and ran with it."

Warner and Greenlaw have stamped their place in 49ers history, with the pair ranking first and fifth, respectively, in career playoff tackles for the prestigious franchise.

The duo have a chance to avenge the heartbreak San Francisco suffered in Super Bowl LIV with a highly touted rematch against the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVIII on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas.

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