The past few months have been a whirlwind of emotions for Fred Warner and his family. This week, Warner was signed to a record-breaking deal to keep the linebacker in San Francisco through the 2026 season. Warner's contract was due as the former third-round pick quickly inserted himself into the conversation as one of the league's top linebackers in just three short years.
His efforts since being drafted by the 49ers are a quintessential model for the aspiring career of Warner's younger brother, Troy. The siblings were a part of BYU's defense together from 2016-17 with Fred as a budding linebacker and Troy, a versatile defensive back.
As Fred's rightfully earned contract extension took shape, it was an emotional moment for his family, including Troy, who will now embark on an NFL career of his own. Troy signed with the Los Angeles Rams as an undrafted rookie this spring with the hopes of landing a spot at safety this fall.
Since joining the 49ers in 2018, Fred has epitomized "leading by example," both on and off the field. The All-Pro linebacker believes the same premise applies at home as well, even if that means his brother is now a division rival.
"It's super exciting when I was able to share the news with him. He almost made me cry," Fred explained. "But I would say it is motivation to him. And what I always tell him is, you don't focus on the end goal. That's obviously what you're trying to strive for one day, but the goal right now for him is to be the best version of himself heading into training camp. It's a tough road ahead for anyone in that position. But he's going to have every opportunity to go out and do his thing and ball out.
"It's awesome that he is playing for a division rival," Fred said. "So, seeing him twice a year would be fun. I'm just super excited for his journey and what that's going to look like. Everyone has their own journey and I'm excited for his and I know he's going to work hard."
While Fred has been lauded around the league for his rare abilities and athleticism, he's eager for his younger brother to create a legacy of his own in the NFL. Like Fred's rookie season, Troy will have the chance to prove himself and compete for a roster spot this summer as the Rams begin gearing up for training camp next week.
For Troy, following his brother's footsteps isn't a terrible path to follow. Beyond being a leader and anchor of San Francisco's defense, Warner was the top-graded linebacker (88.6 overall) in the league last season, according to Pro Football Focus. In 2020, the linebacker started all 16 games and finished with 125 tackles, six passes defensed, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble and 1.0 sack en route to being named Associated Press First-Team All-Pro and earning his first-career Pro Bowl selection.
Entering into his fourth season in the NFL, he believes there's still more to do and bigger opportunities ahead. Under new defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans, Warner is eyeing the ability to add more pass rush opportunities to his repertoire. Over his career, Warner has amassed four sacks, in addition to his five forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. With a bigger workload (and now a bigger check), Warner is eager to take his game to yet another level in Year 4.
"(Forcing turnovers) is for sure a point of emphasis going into the season," he added. "The blitzing, I know I'll have more opportunities in the pass rushing game. And forcing fumbles, that's something I take great pride in and something that I started to develop after my first year and have continued to work on… It's all little things that I'm continuing to work on because at the end of the day, I do want to have that game changing ability."