Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

Photo courtesy of the San Francisco 49ers

George Kittle inspired by highlights of 49ers legend Dwight Clark, words from his son

Sep 7, 2021 at 11:47 AM--

Last week, George Kittle became the recipient of the first-ever Dwight Clark Legacy Award, an honor presented to a San Francisco 49ers player who best exemplifies the late receiver's spirit of teamwork.

The award was presented to Kittle during an event at the Concord Pavilion and featured several 49ers greats. All the proceeds went to benefit the Golden Heart Fund, a charitable organization created by the team to help players transition from NFL careers to their next phases in life.

Kittle had a chance to speak with Clark's family members, with Clark's 21-year-old son offering a message to San Francisco's All-Pro tight end. He said that Kittle reminded him of how his father used to play the game.

"It's an honor," Kittle said this morning on KNBR's Murph & Mac show. "I mean, someone that -- I'm assuming he's watched all of his dad's highlights and all the awesome hits that he took, and all the awesome hits that he gave out, and the huge plays that he made.

"They played a highlight reel of some of his clips of him just taking these huge shots over the middle of the field and just popping up like he was having the best day of his life. I just have the utmost respect for that.

"To say that I play in a way that's similar to his father's, it's an honor. And that's what I try to do. I try to play the game old school, violent, physical, with a big smile on my face because you get one opportunity every single time you step onto the football field, and you never know which one will be your last, so you might as well enjoy all of them."

The 49ers are scheduled to kick off their 2021 season on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, and there is a lot of buzz surrounding the Bay Area team that won just six games last season—mostly due to injuries. Kittle appeared in just eight games last season but still hauled in 48 passes for 634 yards and two touchdowns. There are no signs of the tight end slowing down, as he hopes to help lift the Niners back into Super Bowl contention.

"For me personally, every time you have a chance to step on the field, there's a camera in the sky that's watching everything that you do," Kittle added. "So why not do it at a high level because everyone around the league, from players to coaches to scouts to owners, everybody's watching that tape? ... So why not give 100 percent your all and prove to everyone around the league that you deserve to be there and you deserve some respect?"

You can listen to the entire conversation with Kittle below.

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