Fred Warner is no longer under the radar.
On Monday the 49ers linebacker was named to his first Pro Bowl. Warner is joined by teammates Kyle Juszczyk, who was tapped for the fifth time, and Trent Williams, who received his eighth nod.
Warner has been a standout on the 49ers' defense since his arrival in Santa Clara. While opposing offenses have always had to take him into account, his third season has been a breakout year, now in more ways than one.
Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh has given Warner more responsibilities in 2020, and the BYU product has flourished. The 49ers' coaching staff has believed in Warner since the beginning, and now other coaches and players are showing that they have taken notice.
“It’s a huge honor,” Warner said Tuesday. “It’s one of those things where you have individual goals for yourself so to be able to check one of those off is huge. I think any individual accolades in this league are always a team award.
“Football I feel like is the truest team sport in the entire world. I can’t do what I do without my teammates and I know Trent and Kyle will say the same thing.”
Warner represents the linebackers for the NFC alongside Seattle Seahawks’ Bobby Wagner, who earned his seventh Pro Bowl nod. Like Wagner, the 49ers linebacker has shown he can do it all -- from blitzing to coverage.
“I actually got a call from Bobby yesterday congratulating me,” Warner said. “We text back and forth about different things throughout the season. He was one of the first to congratulate me, on us being picked as the inside backers for the NFC. That was special.”
Juszczyk believes that the recognition for Warner has been way past due. Leading the team in tackles while “quarterbacking” the defense is no small feat. While in 2019 the attention was on the 49ers' pass rush, this season, the spotlight has gravitated towards Warner.
“Honestly, I think I’m happier for Fred getting his first one than me getting my fifth, to be totally real with you,” Juszczyk said. “Just because I know how important that first one is, and I remember how excited I was when I first got my first nod.
“That one definitely means the most, you really kind of have to break through. I’ve told him he’s got the hardest one out of the way and now they are going to start coming easier for him because people know his name. The guy is an absolute baller.”