Fred Warner's on-field aggression doesn't concern 49ers' Robert Saleh


SANTA CLARA -- Fred Warner’s second personality was on full display during 49ers practice on Wednesday when he mixed it up with teammate Raheem Mostert more than once. 

In the dog days of training camp, it's not uncommon for there to be a few scuffles, but it seemed Warner was in the center of most of the dust-ups on Wednesday. On more than one occasion, the linebacker’s forceful contact with running back Raheem Mostert led to some shoving and a lot of jawing. 

Warner, who appears to be a “nice guy” when his helmet is off, has an alter ego when he steps onto the field. It wasn’t as evident in his rookie year, but during joint practices with the Denver Broncos prior to the 2019 season, Warner's other side made its full debut. 

Warner started enough scuffles during those practices that his number was referenced by Broncos personnel and Denver's coaching staff, and not in the most complimentary way. 

49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh sees it as healthy competition and prefers to ask his players to dial it down than to need for them to ramp it up.

“It’s better to say ‘Whoa’ than ‘Giddy-up,’” Saleh said. “You can be a gentleman off the field, but when that helmet goes on as a linebacker, and really as a football player in general, and you step between the white lines, there’s a trigger mentally that puts you into a different mindset with regards to physicality and presence.” 

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Saleh believes that coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch have brought in players with the right type of character. Consequently, he isn’t worried about skirmishes on the field, knowing they are not malicious.  

“It’s one thing if it started because of one person is being cheap when we’re not taking care of each other on the practice field,” Saleh said. “It’s another thing where it just gets heated because you’ve been competing your tails off with one another.”