All-Pro tight end George Kittle has been San Francisco 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s biggest proponents, and Kittle’s latest endorsement is telling.
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle enjoyed yet another prolific season in 2019, culminating with yet more records and an All-Pro selection to go along with what has been a meteoric rise over his three-year career so far.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo had an excellent season, too, especially considering his 3,978 pass yards ranked fourth best among all Niners quarterbacks in a single year. Yet Garoppolo’s fourth-quarter collapse in Super Bowl LIV against the Kansas City Chiefs seemed to be all the indication skeptics needed to suggest Jimmy G isn’t the guy for head coach Kyle Shanahan and Co.
“We don’t get to the Super Bowl without him. So there’s no one that I’d replace him with.” — George Kittle on Jimmy Garoppolo
“It is what it is,” George Kittle said. “People talk. There’s nothing else to talk about. It’s nothing that I took seriously. Jimmy G is my quarterback, and he’s one hell of a quarterback. We don’t get to the Super Bowl without him. So there’s no one that I’d replace him with. What he’s done for this team leadership-wise and on the field, he’s one of a kind.”
Earlier, Kittle appeared with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on First Take to defend Garoppolo, whom Smith thought wasn’t seizing the star power in San Francisco.
Kittle was quick to point out it wasn’t Garoppolo’s fault he wasn’t the 49ers’ de facto star, questions why it would be considered a bad thing the Niners had plenty of other household-name talent on the roster.
Regardless, the talk continued until Brady inked a free-agent deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, prompting only the “what could have been” chatter among those who initially wondered if Jimmy G could be the right fit.
“There’s no one else I’d rather be around to throw me the ball,” Kittle continued on the podcast. “You know, I’m just excited being able to play football again with Jimmy G and I know that he’s ready to fling that rock again.”
Kittle is certainly aware of the fact 2019 marked Garoppolo’s first full season as a starter, also understanding there were going to be challenges for the quarterbacking coming off a 2018 campaign spent mostly rehabilitating a torn ACL suffered early that season.
And while San Francisco’s offense still needs upgrades, Kittle isn’t looking at the thoughts of a change under center being one of them.