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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Why 49ers TE George Kittle had to sneak into a Sharks game in November

Apr 10, 2020 at 9:27 AM--

San Francisco 49ers star tight end George Kittle is a pretty recognizable face in the Bay Area. Even outside of California, he probably gets noticed everywhere he goes. That's not so much a problem these days, as most are staying at home amid the coronavirus pandemic, but it presented a little bit of a problem in November.

On November 9, Kittle attended a hockey game between the San Jose Sharks and the Nashville Predators. Now, you have probably seen the 49ers All-Pro tight end at hockey games decked out in Sharks gear before.

So why was this trip to see the local hockey team done so discreetly? There are two reasons. Nine days earlier, against the Arizona Cardinals, Kittle had suffered knee and ankle injuries and was listed as doubtful for the 49ers' next game against the Seattle Seahawks. He ended up missing the next two games.

The second reason? He may not have been cheering for the home-team Sharks.

"I had to sneak down there," Kittle told Adam Vingan of The Athletic. "I couldn't wear Preds gear because I was actually sitting in the Sharks alumni suite. It was pretty funny."

So, Kittle is a Predators fan? Yes, a big one. Although, he notes that he does also support the Sharks, which he has made clear in recent years.

But why the Predators? While Kittle and his wife spend the season in the Bay Area, their offseason home is in Nashville. Kittle has also become close friends with Predators star Filip Forsberg. The tight end's wife, Claire, and Forsberg's girlfriend, Erin Alvey, are close friends. That's how the NFL and NHL stars met. The two typically hang out together whenever they can, play video games against each other, and Forsberg was even at the NFC Championship Game to cheer on Kittle and the 49ers.

You can see Forsberg's nod to his friend's team in the tweet below.

But Kittle's friendship with Forsberg isn't when his fandom for the Predators blossomed. His college and 49ers teammate, quarterback C.J. Beathard, is from the Nashville area. The two typically train together there during the offseason.

"He's a huge Preds fan," Kittle said, "so I've been to a couple games with him. But then after meeting Fil, I now have three Filip Forsberg jerseys in my closet."

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