Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports


49ers’ George Kittle on board with 18-game seasons so long as this happens

Sep 27, 2022 at 9:21 AM--


In 2021, the NFL expanded each team's season from 16 to 17 games. It's almost certain that the expansion will eventually include an 18th game. While that means more NFL games for fans to enjoy each year and more revenue for the already highly-profitable league, it also means more wear and tear on the bodies of NFL players.

Knowing it is inevitable, one San Francisco 49ers star doesn't have an issue with 18-game seasons. However, there needs to be one compromise.

"I think if you throw in an extra bye, I think it would be very easy for guys," tight end George Kittle told Boomer Esiason on his Gametime podcast. "Just one extra week off, I think, would keep the players that you want to see week in and week out on the field every day. That's what matters. You don't want guys to be hurt. You want to see guys on the field."


Kittle knows first-hand how demanding the NFL can be on a player. He has missed 13 games over the past three seasons due to injuries, including the first two of this season.

"Football's a violent game," Kittle continued. "It's physical. It's hard to avoid contact, especially when you play on the line of scrimmage, whether offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, tight ends, running backs. Those things happen, and I think throwing in an extra bye week there—hey, they're going to up it to 18 at some point, probably.

"I don't want to speak it into existence, but it will get there at some point. I'm all for just an extra bye week. Give these buys another breather."

This isn't the first time Kittle has advocated for multiple bye weeks for each team. He did so in June while speaking with comedian Kevin Hart.

"Seventeen games is a lot," Kittle told Hart. "It's a lot of games with one bye, whether it's Week 4 or the bye is Week 11. I'm advocating for two byes. If you can get that to happen, that would be cool."

Kittle made his 2022 debut this past weekend against the Denver Broncos after a groin injury forced him to miss Weeks 1 and 2. His four catches for 28 yards didn't make much of a difference in the game, and head coach Kyle Shanahan believes it's because the tight end is still working his way back into game shape.

"You can't underestimate how much, when guys miss time, how hard it is to go out and play a game like that," Shanahan said on Monday. "So yeah, George, he did some good things, but he's not there yet because he hasn't been playing much. It was nice to get him back in practice more last week. It was nice to get him through the game healthy. And if we can keep that trend, I know he'll keep getting back to himself."



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