Pro Bowl Tight End George Kittle Says Fred Warner Is Heartbeat, Quarterback Of 49ers Defense

Aug 25, 2020, 3:32 PM | Updated: 3:38 pm
Fred Warner - San Francisco 49ers...
Fred Warner #54 of the San Francisco 49ers stretches during practice for Super Bowl LIV at the Greentree Practice Fields on the campus of the University of Miami on January 30, 2020 in Coral Gables, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Pro Bowler and 49ers tight end George Kittle called Niners linebacker Fred Warner the “heartbeat” and “quarterback” of San Francisco’s defense.

Kittle praised his teammate during a recent media session amid the 49ers’ training camp.

Currently the Niners are preparing for the 2020 NFL season. The team is holding training camp at SAP Performance Facility located next to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

“Definitely had a lot of battles with Fred. You know, both pass game and run game,” Kittle said. “Fred’s the heartbeat of that defense. He’s the quarterback of them. It’s been really fun and he has gotten a lot better.”

Drafted in 2017, Kittle was selected only a year before the former BYU great. Since then, the two have had many battles in practice, including one the tight end remembered from early in their careers.

“I remember my rookie OTAs I had like a route on him, cooked him a little bit. I was like, ‘That’s what you get for being a rookie,'” Kittle continued. “Now he’s definitely guarding those routes. He’s reacting to all those plays and you can really tell how far he’s come. He’s an incredible linebacker. He was in my opinion a Pro Bowl linebacker last year and I think he’s gonna be better this year. So just being able to play against him every single day makes me a better tight end. So it’s just really fun to have someone like that on my team.”

In July, Warner was ranked among the top 100 players in the NFL for the 2020 season.

“Warner began his NFL career with four consecutive games with at least 10 tackles. Last season, the BYU product recorded three sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown,” wrote NFL.com’s Quang M. Lam. “Entering his third season, Warner has not missed a game and has amassed 242 tackles. The future is bright for this young man.”

Fred Warner’s BYU Career

Warner played football at BYU from 2014-17. During his time in Provo, he starred at linebacker in 49 games, including 42 starts.

He recorded 264 total tackles, 158 solo tackles, 6.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hit, 7 interceptions, and 5 fumble recoveries.

Warner’s younger brother, Troy, is currently a member of the BYU football team.

Fred Warner and the Niners

Following his college career at BYU, Warner was selected by San Francisco with the 70th overall pick during the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

The BYU product recently completed his second professional season with the Niners. Warner helped San Francisco to a 13-3 regular-season record and an NFC title.

The 49ers were defeated 31-20 by the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

In his two seasons with the Niners, Warner has recorded 262 total tackles, 185 solo tackles, 3.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 2 interceptions, and a touchdown in 35 games played.

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