George Kittle is one of the newest spokesmen for Kingsford 100 percent wood pellets. With his new campaign, Sporting News had a chance to grill the 49ers tight end on what he thinks coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch might do for his team in the 2021 NFL Draft starting on Thursday night.
“I’m going to spend most of the time trying to text Kyle and John and ask them who we’re drafting, just for fun. I really don’t watch the draft unless we’re the ones making the picks,” Kittle told SN. “I’ll just get those early updates and follow it on Twitter and see what happens. It is what it is.”
Kittle has played with several quarterbacks during his four seasons in San Francisco after being taken in the fifth round of the 2017 draft. He has had a good rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo, but Garoppolo suffering a new injury to his ankle meant the 49ers had to play Nick Mullens and C.J. Beathard again at quarterback in 2020.
Now Mullens and Beathard are former 49ers, and Garoppolo might be too, soon after the draft. The 49ers will be taking a franchise quarterback at No. 3 overall, most likely Alabama’s Mac Jones over North Dakota State’s Trey Lance and Ohio State’s Justin Fields.
Kittle is ready to roll with whatever direction Shanahan and Lynch plan to take the Niners’ passing game and offense as a whole.
“That’s how football is. You want all your best players out there 24-7,” Kittle said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t have that last year with all our injuries, it was a revolving door at a bunch of positions. I would rather have consistency, someone on the field with me the entire season.
“I trust Kyle and John to make the right decision to make our team better, whether they draft a quarterback, another tight end, d-lineman, whatever it is. I just can’t wait to meet the guy and help him become the best football player … to help the team.”
Kittle’s Kingsford spot, called “King of the Smoke Ring,” is a lot of fun, as he turns grilling into a professional wrestling-like throwdown with Lions tight end T.J. Hockenson, his former teammate at Iowa. Kittle even channels in his inner Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson at the end.
“When I got into the league and got an actual nice grill, l have liked using wood pellets, because it’s so easy and tastes better,” Kittle said. “The fact I grill four nights a week, it was a no-brainer for me and I jumped at that relationship.”
Kittle said he got much of his grilling skills from his dad and hopes to one day make the same level of chicken breast. Kittle’s own go-to grilling combination is a bacon-wrapped fillet, Brussels sprouts and mashed potatoes. With whatever he makes, Kittle knows one thing for sure: “I’m definitely better than T.J. at grilling and at tailgating.”
Through emerging as one of the NFL’s most dominant players, Kittle has shown fans that he genuinely likes to have a happy time off the field, and that’s also made him one of the league’s most popular players.
“I am surprised about it, yeah. I don’t try to do anything extra. I just try to be myself every single day. It’s worked well for me,” Kittle said. “I think people connect with my positivity and optimism — and I’m kind of goofy. I’m a kid at heart and I enjoy the little things. I just try to be authentic and people appreciate that.”
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