Fred Warner earned one of the top individual honors in the NFL this season, but he is quick to share the achievement with those around him in the 49ers organization.
Warner, who was selected to his first Pro Bowl late in the season, was recently named as a first-team Associated Press All-Pro selection.
“It was just surreal. It really was,” Warner said on 49ers Talk. “It’s something I did want for a really long time because everybody has their individual goals, right? And I talked about it before. When I came into the league, all I wanted was respect amongst my peers.”
The star linebacker registered a career-best 125 tackles, two interceptions, six passes defensed, two fumble recoveries and a sack. He achieved especially high marks in pass coverage to enable him to grade out as the top linebacker in the league, according to Pro Football Focus.
But Warner was quick to spread the credit to the 49ers’ front office, coaching staff and his teammates.
“It took a village, for sure,” Warner said. “Being part of such an amazing organization, the 49ers, and having John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan believe in me to draft me to this team and having the coaches around me, the players around me to help elevate my game, and learning from them. I’m so grateful.
“I can’t say enough good things about the culture that’s been built here. It’s allowed me to thrive and continue to grow as a player.”
Warner did not miss a game in his first three NFL seasons. This offseason, he is eligible to sign a multi-year contract extension for the first time after entering the NFL in 2018 as a third-round draft pick.
Warner, 24, fully expects his best football to come over a period of years in the future.
“It’s kind of crazy to think about because this was only my third year, and I have so much room to improve,” Warner said. “I have so much growth that still needs to happen and that’s the great part about this game: You’ve never got it. The moment you say you’ve got something, that’s when you lose it.
“I’m going to continue to get better because ultimately I’m trying to get that ring on my finger at the end of this. That’s what the entire team mindset going into 2021, that we’re going to work our tails off this offseason to put ourselves right back in that position to win the thing.”