After signing off on Friday in a style tailor-made for a professional wrestler, George Kittle exuded much of the same energy on Saturday while talking about his shiny, new contract.
With padded practices set to kick off for the 49ers in two days, Kittle is still in the "pre-match promo" phase of his preparation for the main event that is the season opener on Sept. 13. Making his first appearance in front a hot mic since agreeing to a five-year extension on Thursday, the big-money tight end expressed his enthusiasm about getting a deal done.
"Now, I can go onto a football field and not have any worries about anything. I don't have to worry about getting injured. I don't have to worry about anything. I can just go out there and focus on football, which is the best job in the world. I get paid to play football," Kittle told reporters. "Now I'm taken care of and my family's taken care of and now I can just focus on that…I can just go out there and play football and run through someone's face and I'm really excited about that."
Having long-term security prior to mixing it up in training camp is something Kittle stated was important to him, an idea Niners brass clearly felt similarly about. The multi-year pact means the soon-to-be 27-year-old will continue running like the wind in San Francisco for the bulk of his prime.
Kittle's market-shaking deal is a clear sign that the All-Pro is viewed by management as a building block for success in 2020 and beyond. As the highest-paid tight end in NFL history, the 49ers star is proud to be the flag-bearer for how guys at the position will be valued in the future.
"I think it's a step in the right direction," he said. "I think, overall, tight ends are occasionally [forgotten] about or not advertised enough and I think the fact that guys are exploding through the ceiling that was set with me, Travis Kelce had a fantastic new deal, I know [Zach] Ertz is about to get one. The guys that are just blowing through that, it's just fun to see. I think tight ends will just continue to prove that we're worth a lot to the team and I'm just thankful that the Niners organization believed in me and gave me that opportunity."
Considering the figures Kittle and the recently-extended Kelce agreed to, there's a great chance the upcoming campaign will put an end to the days of game-changing tight ends slipping under the radar.