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George Kittle on Jauan Jennings’ value to 49ers, reunion with Trent Taylor

May 30, 2024 at 10:52 AM

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The San Francisco 49ers signed wide receiver Jauan Jennings to an extension this week, ensuring at least two more seasons of "Third and Jauan." While casual fans might not understand the significance of this move, looking at Jennings' career statistics with a shrug, die-hard supporters understand Jennings' importance to the team.

Jennings epitomizes the 49ers' physical football mentality, as demonstrated by this block against the Green Bay Packers in last season's playoffs.

Of his 29 receptions last season, including the playoffs, Jennings converted 20 into first downs, showcasing his tenacity and ability to fight for extra yards.

Teammate George Kittle, a tenacious blocker himself, expressed his excitement about the 49ers holding onto Jennings through at least the 2025 season.

"I think every single person in NFL that watches tape, every general manager, every scout, anybody that watches tape, they look at Jauan's film, they're like, 'Holy cow, this guy is one of one,'" Kittle told reporters on Wednesday. "His mindset and his attitude when he's on a football field is completely different. He goes to that dark place that Coach [Kyle] Shanahan would talk about with Pierre Garçon.

"He just is very violent in the way that he plays the game, which you don't see in all receivers. He will hit defensive ends as hard as he can. He'll hit linebackers as hard as he can. He's not scared of anything. And if you need him to win on a one-on-one rep, he's going to win on that one-on-one rep. He's got incredibly strong hands.

"For a guy that does it all, he runs the routes, he does the run game, he shows up every day, loving the game, with a great attitude every single day, and then you get the game day, and he makes all those plays, that's someone that you want to be in your building. That's something that you want to pay. That's someone you want to reward because he's just going to keep bringing that every single day, and he's just going to raise the standard of everybody around him. So when you have a guy like that, that does everything, it's great for us."

Kittle-Taylor reunion

Kittle and Trent Taylor, both drafted by the 49ers in 2017, became close friends during their four seasons together. Taylor left for the Cincinnati Bengals in 2021 and spent last season with the Chicago Bears before rejoining the 49ers this offseason.

On Wednesday, Kittle was asked about the reunion with Taylor.

"It's been fantastic," Kittle shared. "He actually spent all of OTAs living at my house, which was kind of nice because someone's living there. Just having a guy from the 2017 draft class has been fantastic. You know, one of my best friends, training with him every single day. Being able to share a locker with him again has been very fun for me. And we drive to work and stuff. It's great.

"And someone, too, that is incredibly talented at returning punts. He's always top five, top ten in punt return stuff and always takes care of the football every single time he's back there. And, hey, if you need him to run some good routes on third downs, he does a really good job of that, too. And the fact that he knows our offense, too, so he fits right in."

Kittle noted that Taylor and quarterback Brock Purdy have been building chemistry on the practice field, which could help the veteran receiver's case to secure a roster spot.

"Hopefully, that continues to go," Kittle continued. "And, yeah, just having familiar faces in the building is fun because I feel like this is a pretty new team. When I walked in today, the entire D-line is different. Nick Bosa is the oldest D-lineman in the room—or, sorry, longest-tenured in the room. So you have a lot of new faces everywhere, but you still have a good core group of guys, and when you add Trent to that mix, it's very fun for me."

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