George Kittle and the San Francisco 49ers made it official, with Kittle signing his five-year, $75 million contract extension on Friday. And with that, it’s time to play football.
“…I have the best job in the world.” Kittle said today, after the 49ers first training camp practice. “I get paid to play football. Now I’m taken care of, and my family is taken care of and now I can just focus on that. I don’t have to worry about money. I don’t have to worry about anything else. I can just go out there and play football and run through someone’s face. I’m really excited about that.”
49ers’ general manager John Lynch had high praise for the tight end he drafted and has made sure will be in the Bay for awhile.
“…I battled against him hard during my career, but Brett Favre was the guy I probably respected most because he had so much damn fun playing the game,” Lynch said. “And you’re in an intense moment and you look over and he’s doing the YMCA in the huddle or something while you’re at Green Bay. And George is very reminiscent to me of that. In the midst of intense and tough and tight situations, you just see an exuberance with him that’s special. I think that’s contagious. And when you’re like that, you better be a really good player. And we’re very fortunate that he is. He’s a great player.”
For Kittle, that love of the game and desire to be the best stems from the love and support that’s around him.
“…I’m very blessed and I’m very privileged…that I get unconditional love from my family every single day,” Kittle said. “…[T]hat just kind of motivates me to be the best football player I can be because the rest of my life is pretty amazing. And I should be able to make this as amazing because this is all I have to focus on.”
Case in point, Kittle’s wife, Claire, and his family put together a touching video to celebrate the tight end.
As evidenced by his Garoppolo/Kittle 2020 t-shirt, Kittle is ready to get the 49ers 2020 campaign underway and start catching touchdowns from his QB1, Jimmy Garoppolo.
“…[T]he thing with Jimmy is…he’s always ready to go,” Kittle said. “He’s got such a quick release and he just, he gets football…We had a couple of good connections today and he was throwing the rock really well all over the field. It’s just fun to see that. I know every day we get to go out there and compete is another day that Jimmy’s going to get better. Every day that Jimmy gets better, we get better, so really looking forward to just competing every single day with him.”
- Arik Armstead (back irritation) did not practice today. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is not terribly concerned. “…I’m not too worried about it,” Shanahan said. “Just has some back stiffness, which happens to a lot of people, especially with guys his size…I bet we’ll probably be smart these first four days and then try to get him in the next block of practices.”
- Shanahan is hopeful that wide receiver Deebo Samuel could be ready for week one of the season, which is Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals. “…Deebo’s going to do everything he can to be in shape, but it’s hard to be in football shape until you can play football,” Shanahan said. “So, how many practices do we get him in here before Arizona? That’s going to all go into play, but I’m hoping for week one, but not sure yet.”
- The 49ers signed wide receivers J.J. Nelson and Travis Austin and both practiced today.