San Francisco 49ers rookie linebacker Fred Warner has agreed to document his first NFL training camp and preseason. Over the course of the month, Warner has been sharing a first-person account of his experiences. Below is Warner's fourth blog entry, which covers his preseason debut, his fumble recovery and his role in the team's annual "rookie show." Be sure to check out his first, second and third post in case you've missed them!
It's been an eventful week since I last checked in. Let's start with last Thursday at our team hotel in Houston. At the end of our team meeting, all of the rookies were notified that our "rookie show" was taking place on Friday. Essentially, the rookies broke into groups and had 24 hours to come up with some sort of skit that would get a laugh out of the coaches and veterans on the team.
I teamed up with D.J. Reed and Emmanuel Moseley. I came up with our idea, and I tried to give them simple lines. D.J. said he wanted to impersonate Ferg (head athletic trainer Jeff Ferguson) and Moseley wanted to be Coach Haf (Jeff Hafley), our DB coach. I was supposed to be Pita Taumoepenu. It's a long story. Let's just say it was one big punch line that got people laughing. In hindsight, we probably should have practiced a little.
The offensive linemen were a different story. They clearly rehearsed their bit. The o-linemen for sure killed everybody. Mike McGlinchey was the star of the show. He was conducting himself like he was Coach Shanahan in our team meetings. It was funny. That's all I can say. I don't want to give away too much to the rest of the world.
Come gameday against the Texans on Saturday, I relaxed for the most part until our buses left for NRG Stadium. Then I put my headphones on and locked in all the way through individual warmups. When I'm really trying to get amped up, I'll put on a lot of Meek Mill or stuff with hard bass in it – some Drake, some Future, some Rick Ross. A lot of my warmup was spent visualizing the plays I was about to make for the first time. There was definitely a moment in the game, I think it was a timeout, when I just looked around and took it in a little bit. It was pretty surreal being out there for my first game.
I came into the game for the final drive of the first half and played for about a quarter-and-a-half into the beginning of the fourth quarter. When I first entered, Houston was in their two-minute drill. We knew we had to be super locked in because we expected them to take some shots downfield. My favorite play from the game was a run stop I made in the second half. It was a simple zone handoff. I saw the gap and shot it to make the play in the backfield. I also recovered a fumble, which was more of a right place, right time type of thing. I got cut blocked by an offensive lineman. While I was on the ground, the ball happened to fall right in front of me. I army crawled over to it and was able to secure the ball. It was a lot of fun being out there for my first game and to make a few plays and to be out there with my teammates.
The best part of the entire game was coming out of it healthy. I didn't have any setbacks with my chest and wasn't thinking about it at all while I was playing. Now I'm trying to make the most of this week so I can do it all over again on Saturday against the Indianapolis Colts. More to come.