Rookie tight end George Kittle eager to prove himself with 49ers

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle (85) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Dec. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers have a long tradition of great tight ends. Rookie tight end George Kittle can’t name one of them.

“I know Dwight Clark is an absolute savage,” Kittle said this week at his locker.”

“Clark was a wide receiver,” a reporter said.

“I count him as a tight end,” Kittle said.

“Have you heard of Brent Jones?”

“Say again?”

“Brent Jones.”


“Russ Francis?”


“Charle Young?”

“Charle what?”

“Charle Young.”

“No. How old are they?”

“They played in the ’80s and ’90s.”

“Oh, well that’s not fair.”

Kittle was born in 1993. By then, Young and Francis had won Super Bowls and retired. And Jones was 30. He caught 68 passes for 735 yards and three touchdowns that year. It was the best season of his career.

Kittle is 24. He may not know the 49ers’ past, but he’s their future at tight end.

Click here to read the rest of the article.

This article has 55 Comments

    1. Which is why he quit. His goal was to become a surgeon after his NFL career. And after playing in the Super Bowl with a fractured hand, and how players were routinely lied to about the severity of their injuries, he got sick of it and moved on.

      1. That’s ok. Doesn’t diminish the toughness he exemplified in the face of adversity, which is a good trait to emulate if you’re looking to past 49ers players at your position….

        1. My favorite John Frank moment was when he got in a wrestling match after the whistle with Lawrence Taylor. No punches thrown, but even though 35lbs lighter he completely held his own. If I recall correctly the zebras had the sense to not flag either of them, but I’m not positive about that. It was like a bobcat vs cougar coming to a draw.
          My memory is that he always intended to have a short nfl career and move on to Med School after, with some $$ to afford it.

  1. Don’t care whether he knows about these people or not. That’s his business, and quite honestly I think it’s taking the p*ss somewhat for reporters to be winding him up about it. Cheap shot, whoever it was.

    Kittle has gumption, I like that. He’s fearless. He needs to put a bit of work in and improve his catching, but already been an improvement now that we have a QB not throwing the ball at his ankles all the time. He’s a keeper.

    1. I found the list obnoxious. Francis played for the 49ers for 6 years and put up just over 2,000 yards in receiving. Brent Jones never had a 1,000 yard season but did have a good 4-year run. They were good TEs, but they were not elite TEs in any way. And their time, and press coverage, has long passed.

      What I found even funnier, was where was Ted Kwalick in the list? Ted Kwalick is the best TE the 49ers ever had. The guy was amazing. How many TEs run End-Arounds? Pretty much zero because they don’t have the speed but he did it 19 times at a 9.2 YPC clip. And his yards/catch — 15.4.

      Then came some ***** – up with the coaching staff and front office and he lost his starting job and, eventually, left for the USFL. Played there then when it folded, he signed up with the Raiders to be a back-up because he wanted to have nothing to do with the 49ers. But the press doesn’t know about him. He’s not part of the band-wagon. And the band-wagon is about they know.

      As for knowing about Clark, that’s pretty easy as Clark was involved in one of the most iconic plays in NFL history. But Charle Young? Russ Francis? Brent Jones? They’re only really special to 49er fans. They’re not Tony Gonzalez or Mike Ditka or Ozzie Newsome or some other HOF greats that transcended team/fan recognition. Rather, they were just good, well respected TEs who had a few Pro Bowls during their careers but didn’t transcend their positions to HOF elite.

      And there is no reason for Kittle to know them. Just like there’s no reason for the press to know Kwalick. It’s before their time and without championships to reminisce over to keep him fresh in the minds of the younger generation, only us old-timers remember.

      So, yes, it was pretty cheap.

      1. Francis came out of retirement to play for the 49ers, His best years were with NE. so his 49er stats are not that relevant.

        1. Walsh spent some effort trying to convince Frank not to retire. He valued Frank’s contributions (oops, wrong placement of comment).

        2. I wasn’t the one that brought him up, though, was I? He wasn’t much as a 49er besides a has-been. Yet he was being thrown in Kittle’s face as if he was one of the 49er greats.

      2. I’m with you Big Mo. Not sure why Grant and the other lazy reporters didn’t quiz him on the greatness that was Earl Cooper, Ted Popson, Jamie Williams, or Greg Clark as well. 🤦‍♂️

  2. Closer to Kittles generation, was he asked about Vernon Davis? He wasn’t great and he had a short run, but he had wheels was the only reliable pass catcher the Niners had that magical Harbaugh season 1. Not to mention one of the 2 or 3 greatest playoff winning catches in team history.

  3. I think the tandem of Celek and Kittle will be a serviceable TE duo. What is missing from the offensive arsenal is the #1 receiver. Grant recently lauded Garcon because of his great size 6’0.

    Umm, wouldn’t we rather have Allen Robinson 6’3 and 25 years old. He is an athlete who can outmuscle most CB for a jump ball. Wouldn’t that be an asset on 3rd and long/RedZone?

    Martavis Bryant wants out of Pitt. Good . Let’s trade a 5th for him. He is 6’5 .

    Let’s give Jimmy G some weapons. Geez

    1. The RZT does not need to be a #1 receiver. Can even be a TE. I’m a little wary of getting a #1 receiver in FA. Many are divas and upset the existing chemistry. But Shanalynch knows best….

  4. Draft Position Percentages coming into today:

    The 49ers’ draft position has changed a lot in recent weeks — not that they mind. Where their first-round pick could fall:

    No. 5: 8%
    No. 6: 28%
    No. 7: 34%

    No. 8: 12%
    No. 9: 3%
    No. 10: 11%
    No. 11: 4%

    Remember when were ‘duking it out’ with Cleveland for #1? Funny how a real QB changes things. Hopefully we win and don’t drop below 8.

    1. Nope. It was an ingenious plot by B.B. to steal a 2nd by dumping a QB with flawed mechanics on the hapless rookie GM in SF. It’ll never work.

      1. Sorry for that my Yankee neighbors.
        I find that comment by Rex Ryan a little over the top. It was a good deal for both teams. As good as Jimmy G has been, he has to do it over a full season schedule. This is not to say he isn’t capable but in a league where you are only as good as your last game, the evalaution and criticism never stops.
        I think that is one thing I don’t enjoy about the NFL. You can go from hero to zero and vice versa, in less than a game.

        1. It seems like when media and fans are dissecting a QBs mechanics it is to find a way to explain non-performance. Folks are much less concerned about it when a guy is making plays. Me too.
          Anyway, Happy New Year to all. Be safe out there. Beware that drinking starts early on a football Sunday New Year’s Eve.

  5. Cleveland is so bad. It’s the first quarter and they had a 4th & 30 at their own two-yard line. They’re playing Pittsburgh’s back-ups.

      1. You’re probably right. Just think the combination of his catch radius and Garoppolo could be a great fit and he’s not too expensive.

    1. Crabtree?? Gotta admit that took me by surprise. But with a QB like Jimmy G, they could be much more successful than CK and MC. Isn’t he a possession receiver and we already have Garcon.

      1. Cubus,

        The same thing was said when they added Boldin to play alongside Crabtree in ’13.

        Crabtree is a better red zone threat than Garçon. Putting Garçon, Crabtree and Goodwin on the field at the same time would be a big improvement over what they currently have.

    1. Undercenter

      Stickles was the meanest ‘crack-back’ blocking TE in history…I remember that opponents players were looking for him after games…

  6. Just got to sit down and watch the Jags game. Been out of town for Christmas. Hope everyone had a great Holiday. Caught my usual December cold. This one is a biach! If I didn’t know any better, I’d think the Niners were the playoff team, not the Jags. I don’t know what Grant gave for grades, but I’d just put a big fat A+ across the board. I obviously lost both sides of my bet (Jags +4 and the under) and was happy too, though I faired well in other games and came out positive for the weekend. After watching that game and the previous Jimmy starts, I think the best move for the Niners is to sign him now long term, instead of the franchise tag. I think he’s going to continue to light it up next year and then it will cost the team even more to sign him down the road. Sign him NOW, if possible, though I think he holds all the cards. His agent could be advising him to hold out for the franchise tag, but thats a big gamble if he were to get hurt. Either way we’ll have him next year, but it will be a stressful year for everyone involved if he’s franchised and we have to deal with the whole scenario once again next off season and all the distraction that comes with it. (see Cousins)

    Couple of things I heard over the Holiday. One of my son in laws is from Boston and is an rabid NE fan, along with his family and friends, many of which are season tix holders. According to them and word around Boston, Belichick wanted to trade Brady, not Garoppolo, and Craft was the one who squelched that deal immediately. Belichick wanted Garoppolo. Craft will never trade Brady.

    I saw all those tight ends play and if I had to rank them talent wise
    this would be it: Top 5

    1. Brent Jones ( Best Niner TE ever. Not even close)
    2. Ted Kwalick (Should have been a SB TE. Thanks Preston Riley)
    3. Russ Francis (You have to account for NE years. He was “All world”)
    4. Vernon Davis (Could have been the best Niner TE ever…….He’s not)
    5. Monty Stickles ( Oh the 60’s! Kittle, do you remember him? ;>))

    Today: SF 31 LA 24

    Happy New Years everyone! Be safe!

    1. Hey Juan
      Jags game was fun. Jags players were very impressed with Shanny’s scheme after the game.
      I’m suffering with that nasty cold virus myself, wife had it last week.
      I’d heard or read those Pats’ rumors as well when the tiff about TB’s trainer was playing out. Do you realize how big BB’s stones are that he would trade Brady?!?!!
      Lordy! But some of us survived Joe’s, Roger’s, Ronnie’s and Jerry’s departures……
      …somehow. BB was trying to pass the torch to help his team for the long run.

      1. couldn’t something similar (i.e.- “stones”) have been said about BW when Joe was sent packing?
        how about Eddie’s reaction from having to move on from Joe– compared to Kraft’s reaction — only Walsh was able to sell Eddie on it… BB not so much with Kraft….

  7. I still remember all the hype around this guy. On Rotoworld:

    “Free agent WR Dorial Green-Beckham was arrested for DWI, failure to display plates, and a window tint violation Saturday in Greene County, Missouri.

    The former No. 40 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Green-Beckham is heading full-steam down the path of never playing again in the NFL after spending the entire 2017 year out of the league following his release from the Eagles in July. Mega talented and built in a lab at 6’5/237, DGB simply doesn’t care about the game. In Philly, he was more interested in partying than playing football. The Titans were lucky to trade him for G/T Dennis Kelly. DGB turns 25 in April.”

  8. Yep, your right BT, BB is just like Walsh. When it’s time, it’s time and loyalty takes a back seat. NE fans are not happy about losing JG. Whoever takes over for Brady will have ridiculously large shoes to fill, especially if he is a rookie. Not to compare JG to Brady, but I think the transition would have been much smoother. Too bad, so sad for them!!

    Did anyone read that article today in the PD concerning Kaep? I almost spit up my coffee laughing. It’s a couple of paragraphs in Phil Barber’s article titled “Kaepernick Remains Unemployed”. Very humorous. Seb must be chewing on the left over nails he has after building his fort in the back yard. Apparently, teams have passed over him for the likes of Johnny Manziel, JaMarcus Russell and even 54 year old Vinny Testaverde!! I love it!! He’s been turned down for jobs such as movie usher, camp counselor, and a role playing himself in a movie about the sideline protests. Apparently, Jerry Jones, the movie producer, said a guy named Zach Galifianakis is a better look for the part! Good stuff!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *