Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

‘I hope Trey is going after Jimmy’s job’: 49ers’ George Kittle says Garoppolo thrives on competition

Jul 23, 2021 at 7:28 AM--

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle spoke with Cam Inman of Bay Area News Group this week. In what was probably some prep-work for the likely-to-be top discussion topic once training camp kicks off next week, the All-Pro player was asked about the upcoming training camp quarterback battle ... which may or may not be an actual battle.

Players may be tired of discussing Jimmy Garoppolo's job. It has been a big storyline the past two offseasons. Last year, the focus was around the 49ers possibly replacing their quarterback, who had just helped guide the team to a Super Bowl, with future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

The 49ers flirted with several names this offseason, like Matthew Stafford, before deciding to trade up to the No. 3 overall pick and select Trey Lance out of North Dakota State. That set the stage for the ensuing storyline. The team now has a veteran who is 24-9 as its starter, including the playoffs, and an exciting rookie who could take head coach Kyle Shanahan's offense to another level.

Kittle is excited to see the two compete and believes it will only make Garoppolo better.

"I'm looking forward to this competition in camp just like everybody else is. I can't wait to see it," Kittle told Inman.

The tight end noted the strong outings Garoppolo had during organized team activities and expects him to carry over into training camp. Lance has been working hard this offseason to take what he learned from the offseason program and hone his skills. He is slated to enter Week 1 as Garoppolo's backup, but you never know what might happen with a strong training camp showing.

"Jimmy loves the competition. He always has," Kittle said. "He played behind Tom Brady for a long time. Every day, he's going against one of the greatest of all time, but he's trying to beat him out for his job, and I know Jimmy feels – I hope Jimmy feels — like he's in the same position with just some competition behind him.

"And I hope Trey is going after Jimmy's job because that's what makes and breeds great football."

Kittle added that Garoppolo is his guy but that the team is still very supportive of Lance. While some felt the addition might create an awkward situation in the quarterback room, and perhaps the locker room as a whole, that never happened.

Lance was welcomed with open arms, even by Garoppolo. None of their teammates are taking sides, and everyone is just doing whatever they can to make the 49ers better.

"We're not going to shy around and say, 'I hope Jimmy's not sensitive to it,'" Kittle said, "because we draft tight ends, quarterbacks, offensive linemen to try to make your team as good as it can get and you're trying to win Super Bowls. So the competition is the thing that breeds success."

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