"I didn't know if I would be back," San Francisco 49ers center Daniel Kilgore told the media via a conference call on Wednesday. "I didn't know if the Niners would want me back."

It turns out that the 49ers did want Kilgore back. The center, who was scheduled to become a free agent in March, signed a three-year extension with the team on Wednesday. It's a deal Kilgore describes as "team-friendly" so the 49ers can still go out and make a splash in free agency.

Kilgore said there were talks during the season about a contract extension down the road. He feels that his play at the end of 2017 helped to get a deal done. Kilgore ranked 23rd out of 35 centers to kick off last season, according to Pro Football Focus. However, he had a strong finish, was a top-10 center, and didn't allow a sack or quarterback hit during the 49ers' final five games of the season.

The thought of hitting free agency made Kilgore nervous.

"I'm getting older," he said. "I'm 30-years old but still got a lot of miles left in me. As you guys very well know, I finished my first season with 16 starts, so there's still a lot of football left in me. And the guys that are coming up in free agency, they're younger. And so yeah, it kind of makes you nervous because in this profession, people like the younger guys."

Kilgore joked that he's now just waiting for his private jet to fly him back to the Bay Area after signing his new deal in Tennessee. The offensive lineman is excited to be returning to the 49ers and continue playing with quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who guided the team to an undefeated December.

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"Talking to John [Lynch] and Kyle [Shanahan], excited to get [the deal] done," Kilgore said. "Excited for me to be the center and that relationship with Jimmy moving forward. And excited about growing with the team and with the staff."

Kilgore believes that for the first time in a long time, the 49ers coaching staff and the front office are on the same page. He went on to discuss his relationship with Garoppolo, who didn't join the team until a late-October trade that sent him from the New England Patriots to San Francisco.

"We've definitely gotten closer with more reps in practice or in the game," Kilgore said. "He's great. He's a great leader, a great captain for the team on and off the field. As far as how we played (down the stretch), I think everybody played better. I think everyone in the building was doing better at their job, including you guys. You guys were actually able to write something positive.

"It was great. It was great to see that growth with Jimmy and to make the run that we had, and just something for us to build off of for next year."

Kilgore believes that another full offseason will benefit his teammates as they prepare to head into their second season under Shanahan.

"It's something exciting because there are a lot of guys coming back," Kilgore said. "A lot of young guys coming back too that are going to be more comfortable with this system -- like Trent Taylor, George Kittle, guys like that -- that are going to be more comfortable with playing at the speed that we're playing and this offense."

Due to how the team finished this past season, the 49ers have become this offseason's trendy pick to contend in 2018. Kilgore doesn't really listen to those kinds of things because, more often than not, the "know-it-alls" tend to be wrong.

"I don't want to say that we're going to be a playoff-contending team or Super Bowl-winning team," Kilgore said. "I will say this: You will have a team that's going to work its ass off leading up to that moment."

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