Fred Warner has seen the high and low moments since being with the San Francisco 49ers, all while being a vital part of the building blocks constructed by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan.
The All-Pro linebacker has missed the playoffs twice, experienced a Super Bowl loss and, in the last two seasons, was on the losing end of the NFC title game in his five seasons. But through it all, Warner sent out a stirring message in Phoenix on radio row on Friday, February 10 that will resonate through the 49ers Faithful.
“I think that we are building the right stuff,” Warner said on KNBR’s Murph & Mac show. “I think ever since I’ve gotten here, Kyle [Shanahan] and John [Lynch] have brought in guys who just love the game and are the right type of guys to ultimately get to where we want to go. And it’s just that small little inch that we’re right there. It’s not like we’re far off. It’s right there and our time is coming.”
Warner Sounds Off on NFC Championship Game Loss
Super Bowl week has brought out some vocal members of the 49ers as they will soon watch the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs go at it — with 49er players sounding off on the NFC representative.
Wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk, fellow WR Deebo Samuel and kicker Robbie Gould all shared their blunt statements about the title game loss by saying the outcome would’ve been different if the Niners weren’t dealing with a battered quarterback room. Aiyuk also let it be known when speaking with The SFNiners that he believes the Eagles will get exposed on defense facing Patrick Mahomes and company. Nick Bosa has said he’s not planning to watch the game.
Was Warner the latest to hop in and blast the Eagles? Or did he give a different take?
“You’ve got to look at it for what it is,” Warner said to both hosts. “We lost in a weird fashion. Who would have thought that we would have lost our third-string and fourth-string quarterbacks in the most important game of the season, right? And they scored more points than we did at the end of the day, and it sucks. We got punched in the face.
But Warner continued with: “That’s kind of life, and you learn from it, what you can from it, and you move on, and you work hard in the hopes of getting back there. And I know we’re going to get to the peak of the mountain at some point soon.”
Warner on Next Approach
For Warner and the 49ers to return to the Super Bowl, they’ll likely have to do it without some key pieces attached to their string of three NFC Championship game runs in the last four seasons.
Fellow linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair is heading to unrestricted free agency. Safety/nickelback Jimmie Ward, who played with Warner in Super Bowl 54 and the last two conference title game appearances, is also likely on his way out as an unrestricted free agent. Key rotational defensive linemen Hassan Ridgeway and Charles Omenihu are also UFAs.
Warner, as a defensive captain, is now in a position where he’ll spend the next six months processing and gathering how to respond for the following season. And that likely will mean some lengthy, spiritual discussions between he and the rest of the Niners after coming off back-to-back conference title game losses. Warner is in that processing mode, he told the KNBR hosts.
“Every year is its own year. That’s what I’ve kind of realized. And you can take bits and pieces of things that you’ve learned and gone through…obviously this past game will be motivation for sure,” Warner said. “But next year will be a whole new set of guys. We’ll be ready to go when the time comes.”