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Warner on COVID list a wake-up call for 49ers, Shanahan says

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The 49ers went 27 days with no player on the NFL’s reserve/COVID-19 list.

The organization learned on Monday how quickly things can change when starting middle linebacker Fred Warner was placed on the list. Only three NFL players remain on the list with less that two weeks remaining until the start of the regular season.

“I think it’s just a good reminder that no one is out of the woods,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said on Monday. “When you go a few weeks with nothing happening, you can start to feel pretty safe, and it’s a reminder that this stuff is out there.”

Players on the reserve/COVID-19 list have either tested positive for the virus or have come into close contact with an infected individual. Teams are not allowed to disclose the reason for a player going on the list.

“It’s a good reminder to the guys that it can happen at any time,” Shanahan said. “We do have to keep being aware of it. Nothing changes with how we do things. Our rules are pretty set in stone.”

Warner is the third 49ers player to go on the list. Wide receiver Richie James spent eight days on the list early in camp, and running back Jeff Wilson was activated off the list after five days. James and Wilson were both activated off the list on Aug. 4.

The average length of time for players to remain on the list this summer has been a little more than 8 ½ days. Several players were removed from the list after one day. One player spent 34 days on the list.

 
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Warner, who is set to enter his third NFL season, had a strong training camp and has emerged as one of the team’s top players. He recently ranked No. 70 on the NFL Network’s list of top players in the league.

“Fred gets better each year,” Shanahan said. “He came in and played at a high level as a rookie. We put a lot of pressure on him as a rookie and that pressure paid off because it gave him a ton of experience. He rose to the challenge then, and he’s taken it a whole ‘nother level each year.

“Fred is as much of a pro as I’ve been around. While he’s not in here, I’m sure he’s in his apartment doing bag drills, just going crazy that he can’t be in here. Fred is a stud. Whenever he can come back he will be ready to go.”