Why 49ers' Fred Warner pushes intense competition vs. offensive teammates

Why Warner pushes intense competition vs. 49ers' offense originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

All-Pro linebacker Fred Warner was recognized last week as the winner of the Dwight Clark Award for embodying what it means to be a great teammate.

But there are certainly times on the practice field in which Warner appears to push the boundaries when it comes to the competition that takes place with fellow 49ers on the other side of the ball.

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Warner often verbally and physically tests his teammates on offense. It’s all done with a purpose, he said.

“It is a balance,” Warner said at the recent Dwight Clark Legacy Series in San Jose.

Warner said he wants to create some conflict — but not so much that it tears at the bond that is so important for a team to nurture.

“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.

“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.’ “


Warner said he believes practice sessions that involve high tempo and laser focus are necessary for teams to perform at top levels during the season.

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

The 49ers have advanced to the NFC Championship Game in three of the past four seasons with one Super Bowl appearance.

RELATED: Warner, 49ers’ defense shoulders responsibility to improve

Warner believes the pieces are in place for another deep playoff run. He said the 49ers' roster is filled with individuals who have the proper skills and mindsets to go along with a shared passion for football.


“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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