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49ers TE George Kittle named 2018 NFL Most Improved Player of the Year by PFWA

Chris Wilson
Jan 18, 2019 at 1:15 PM--


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The Professional Football Writers of America named San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle the NFL's Most Improved Player of the Year in 2018.


San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle continues to receive honors and accolades after his record-breaking 2018 season. On Friday, Kittle received his latest award for the NFL's Most Improved Player of the Year in 2018 from the Professional Football Writers of America (PFWA):


Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck received NFL Comeback Player of the Year honors from the PFWA on Friday. A year after many analysts believed the quarterback's career was over due to injury, Luck threw for 4,593 yards and 39 touchdowns during the 2018 regular season while leading the Colts to an AFC Playoff berth. Other notable 49ers who have received the honor include defensive tackle Byant Young and running back Garrison Hearst. Former 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh also won the award as quarterback for the Colts in 1995.

Kittle's award was the second honor he received from the PFWA this week. On Tuesday, both Kittle and 49ers wide receiver and kick returner Richie James earned All-NFC honors from the PFWA.

After a fantastic rookie season for a late-round tight end, Kittle followed up his first year with an impressive sophomore campaign. In 2018, Kittle set the NFL record for single-season receiving yards by a tight end, and his 873 yards after the catch (YAC) was the highest total recorded since Pro Football Focus began tracking the statistic. The San Francisco 49ers' top tight end joins quarterback Jeff Garcia and running back Frank Gore as recipients of the award. Here's what the PFWA had to say about Kittle in their official press release on Friday:

As a rookie in 2017 after being selected in the fifth round by the 49ers, Kittle caught 43 passes for 515 yards (second among NFL rookie tight ends), two touchdowns and a 12.0 per-catch average. This season, Kittle led the 49ers with 88 receptions for 1,377 yards (eighth in the NFL), five touchdowns and a 15.6 yards-per-catch average. He was one of four tight ends to lead their team in receiving yards in 2018. Kittle had six receptions of 40 or more yards (led all NFL TEs and was tied for second overall in the league), and he led all tight ends with 20 catches for 20 yards or more. He had four 100-yard receiving games, including a seven-reception, 210-yard game against Denver in Week 14, the third-most yards by a tight end in the NFL since 1960.



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