If you’re one of those people who have stood by the NFL throughout the controversies over the past year, you’ve probably heard the name George Kittle.
Kittle is a tight end for the San Francisco 49ers. Absent quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was injured in the season’s first game, the 49ers have racked up a dismal 2-8 record. One of the bright spots, however, has been Kittle, a 25-year-old University of Iowa graduate who’s slowly become a go-to target in San Francisco’s offense.
“Kittle has been great,” head coach Kyle Shanahan said, according to Bleacher Report.
“He’s got a good personality. He acts like a WWE wrestler and I don’t think that’s an act; I think that’s who he is 24/7, which is fun to watch. But you’ve always got to watch out for him. He’s pretty rowdy all the time.”
That “good personality” part combined with the rowdiness is making Kittle go viral over something he did for our service members on Monday night.
It was, of course, Veteran’s Day weekend and NFL teams found various ways to commemorate. The 49ers had a line of men and women who are serving or have served our country in the armed forces. That was cool enough, but Kittle made sure that he honored each and every one of them with a handshake.
Check out this Facebook post of the moment:
That’s a pretty solid stand in 2018’s NFL. While the anthem/flag protests seem to have mostly gone the way of the dodo (or Colin Kaepernick’s football career), the bad taste still remains in the mouths of a lot of the league’s more conservative fans.
Disregarding Garoppolo, Kittle is arguably the franchise’s biggest star at the moment. Even though he went in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, he’s quickly becoming one of the league’s top tight ends.
“I think Kittle’s got a pretty good feel of everything,” Shanahan said.
“He’s got the ability to be a good blocker and a good passer. The more work he gets at stuff, the more he reps, I think he’s got a chance to be a very well-rounded tight end, as everyone’s seeing. So, I don’t think there’s anything that George can’t do and can’t do at a high level if he’s given the opportunity and can do it consistently.”
That’s pretty awesome, but what many fans are going to be fixating on is the energy and enthusiasm he used to greet our men and women in uniform.
In a league that’s been beset by protests that some veterans have interpreted as open antipathy toward them — combined with a controversy over a wishy-washy NFL policy involving anthem protests that somehow managed to arouse the anger of the players union — seeing something like this is a definite positive for both the 49ers and the league.
Fans seemed to agree.
“I’m a die hard Steelers fan, but I must say I will always have respect for anyone who shows respect, and that’s one fella right there that has won my respect,” Facebook user Dale McCarty commented on the post.
“His parents raised that young man right, respect and honor,” Johnny Spillman wrote.
Commenter Kate Jansen agreed: “It’s SO refreshing to see this! We owe EVERYTHING to the men and women of our military.”
Given the controversy the league has endured these past few years and the fact it’s been hemorrhaging conservative fans, those are comments that have to be music to the ears of NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
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