Willis tips hat to 49ers' Warner-Greenlaw linebacker tandem

Willis tips hat to 49ers' Warner-Greenlaw linebacker tandem originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

The 49ers have not one but two elite NFL linebackers on their side, and it takes one to know one.

Patrick Willis and Navorro Bowman were regarded as one of the best linebacker duos in the NFL during their time together with the 49ers. Nearly a decade later, they're witnessing yet aother dominant duo lead San Francisco's defense in Fred Warner and Dre Greenlaw.

Willis spoke to NBC Sports Bay Area's Donte Whitner about San Francisco's current linebacker tandem and expressed his excitement for their ongoing success.

"My hat goes off to Dre and Fred, how they've held down the linebacker position," Willis said. "It's funny how people, sometimes they're really quick to forget what was before, but people still remember Navorro and I pretty well, but one thing I want people to truly understand is that's what the next generation is all about. What you don't get done, you hope that you can pass something along that the next generation can pick up and mix it in with what they got going on and make it their great. And go get done what it was you were trying to get done.

"We came close to winning the Super Bowl but we didn't win the Super Bowl. Fred and that group have been one time before and they didn't get it done. And I think this right here is an opportunity they can't let pass them by. I know they have the squad to get it done. They just got to go out there and capitalize on this opportunity right now."

Warner and the 49ers are hoping to fulfill that void this season, and they are on the right track so far.

San Francisco clinched the NFC's No. 1 playoff seed, earning a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

The 49ers' star-studded offense played a huge part in that, but of course, this team thrives through its defense, and it did -- particularly later in the season.

While Willis will be watching the 49ers' postseason journey in hopes of a trip to Super Bowl LVIII in Las Vegas, he glady is passing the torch to Warner and Greenlaw as the next generation of elite linebackers for the prestigious franchise.

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