Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Fred Warner remembers the advice Richard Sherman gave him as a rookie

Jan 21, 2021 at 8:43 AM--

Richard Sherman has been one of the veteran voices on the San Francisco 49ers defense for the last three seasons. That was important when he arrived because the roster was still young and learning how to win. Sherman helped bring experience and a winning attitude to the team, while serving as a role model to those still trying to find their way.

One of those players in 2018, Sherman's first season with the 49ers, was then-rookie linebacker Fred Warner.

"Sherm's been my guy since day one," Warner told the hosts of Good Morning Football on Thursday. "I always think about this conversation we had back when I was a rookie. I was third on the depth chart, I think, at Mike linebacker, and just kind of a new guy from BYU who nobody really knew about. And me and him were in the locker room one day, and he just said, 'Find a role. Find your role and be the best at it, whether that be on special teams, handing out water, whatever it is, make sure you're the best at it.'

"That always stuck with me, just making sure that I'm being the best at whatever I do, and little did he know I'd be the one barking calls at him (during) game one and then so on."

Warner has started all 48 games over the past three seasons, not including his three playoff starts last year. That linebacker, a third-round draft pick once buried on the depth chart, has never missed a start and emerged as one of the best in the NFL at his position.

This year, Warner was named an All-Pro for the first time in his career. But his teammates, including Sherman, have been calling him "All-Pro Fred" since long before the linebacker officially earned the honor earlier this month.

"It's such an honor to even have somebody like that talk about you in that way," Warner said.

This could be the end of Sherman's time in red and gold, a look that took some time to sink in for fans after years of watching him in blue and green with the division-rival Seattle Seahawks. Sherman is scheduled to become a free agent and doesn't anticipate returning to the 49ers due to the team's salary-cap constraints.

Now a team leader himself, Warner appreciates everything he's learned from Sherman during these past three seasons and will always carry that advice from 2018 with him.

Added Warner: "But that meant a lot to me, especially from a guy like him, because that's somebody that a lot of kids my age, we all looked up to him. And I still do just for the level of play he's had on the field, of course, but also the man and the person I've come to know and love."

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