Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

49ers TE George Kittle excited new contract lets him focus on football and running through someone’s face

Aug 15, 2020 at 1:34 PM--

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle spoke with reporters on Saturday for the first time since signing his five-year contract extension. He was excited to become the NFL's highest-paid tight end because it means resetting the market for a position that hasn't seen much movement for a long time.

Kittle admits that the reset probably wasn't as significant as it should be, but called it a "step in the right direction."

"I think the fact that guys are exploding through the ceiling that was set with me — Travis Kelce had a fantastic new deal, I know (Zach) Ertz is about to get one — the guys that are just blowing through that, it's fun to see," Kittle explained.

General manager John Lynch, who also spoke with reporters on Saturday, knows what it is like to play a position where salary bumps have lagged.

"I think I had an interesting perspective, personally, because I played a position that had lagged behind in terms of getting paid," Lynch explained. "And I felt like the position and the nature of the position had changed. At one point, I became the high-water mark at safety for about 24 hours before Brian Dawkins did."

Kittle is excited to have the contract negotiations behind him because it allows him to focus on what he loves.

"I just wanted to get it done, have some security," Kittle said. "Now, I can go onto a football field and not have any worries about anything. I don't have to worry about getting injured. I don't have to really worry about anything. I can just go out there and focus on football.

"I have the best job in the world. I get paid to play football. Now, I'm taken care of, and my family's taken care of. Now, I can just focus on that.

"I don't have to worry about money. I don't have to worry about anything else. I can just go out there and play football and run through someone's face, and I'm really excited about that."

Kittle felt it was important for him to be on the field for training camp rather than miss time as negotiations progressed.

"Being a captain and just being what I think is the leader of the team, I always wanted to set the right example," Kittle said. "I want to be here with the guys. I want to go through the workouts. I want to set the standard for my rookie tight end (Charlie Woerner). I've got young tight ends in my room. I'm the oldest guy besides Jordan Reed. He's new here too.

"I just want to make sure guys know that this is the level we play at, this is the level that we're expected to play at. There's not really any excuses. When you can set that standard, I think our young guys learned a lot in the last two weeks, and the steps that they've made has been really fun to see."

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