San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner has agreed to document his first NFL training camp. Over the course of this month, Warner is sharing a first-person account of his experiences. Below is his third blog entry regarding his ongoing rehab, joint practices against the Texans and the growing bond among the 49ers defense. Be sure to check out hisfirstandsecondpost in case you've missed them!
I had a feeling I wasn't going to play against the Cowboys, but it was still up in the air whether or not they were going to give me the go. Our medical staff ultimately told me the day before the game that it wasn't worth risking my chest injury getting worse so they held me out. It sucked, there's no denying that, but I knew it was best for my body. Still, it was hard when I saw all my teammates getting hyped up before the game and making plays in front of our fans. I wished I was out there so bad.
It was still a great experience – just being there for a game at Levi's® Stadium for the first time. The fans were into it the entire game. It was obviously an exciting game all the way down until the end. I'm very excited for when I get my opportunity to suit up and make plays.
I continued to rehab and get treatment in the days following our preseason opener. I finally felt like I started to turn the corner health wise, which was encouraging. After being a limited participant on Sunday and Monday, the medical staff fully cleared me on Tuesday for our practices against the Texans.
I sat next to Pita Taumoepenu on our way to Houston. He's an interesting character… No I'm just kidding. He's a cool dude. He played at Utah and I played at BYU so we had a little bit of a connection there. My roommate at the hotel is Najee Toran, one of our rookie guards. We've just been grinding out these last few days of practice.
One of the highlights of the trip was our entire defense going out to dinner at Pappadeaux – a nice seafood spot here in Houston. Richard Sherman coordinated that on Tuesday. We ate there as a defense, which was cool. You can really feel our group coming together, and Sherman is a big reason why. Prior to leaving for Houston, Sherman brought everyone together, and we talked as a defense. Sherm wanted to make sure we had our minds right heading into this week against the Texans and had an understanding what we wanted to get out of it.
Things like that really build our chemistry as a group, especially for the younger guys like me. I honestly didn't expect to be a part of a team that is so tight knit. I've written this already, but it's almost as if we're still in college. Everybody is that tight with each other. Everybody is bought in to being the best defense possible. We've just got to prove that day in and day out.
As for practice, it was great to be back out there with my teammates and just hit people again. I gained confidence in my chest over the course of the two practices. We all wanted to come out and set the tone against the Texans because we have a standard as a defense. I think we did that both days. The heat started to get to me a little at the end of Thursday's practice. The humidity here in Houston is real, man. You walk outside and it hits you in the face. Overall it was still a great day. It was really good work for us to go against a different type of offense and get a different look.
I'm going to end it there. After all, this is a business trip, and we've got our final walkthrough coming up. Saturday will be my first NFL preseason game, and I've got to make sure that I've got my head on my shoulders and stay composed. But I'm looking forward to giving it my all. It's going to be a lot of fun.