Returning to the Super Bowl is a top priority for San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle, and that means getting a step ahead in all scenarios, including during the era of shelter-in-place.
The two-time Pro Bowler recently sat down with Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated, speaking on everything from his desire to return to the field to his process in terms of setting up his home gym.
Kittle is coming off his first All-Pro selection in the NFL since being drafted in the fifth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, totalling 1053 yards and five touchdowns in the 2019 regular season.
Kittle’s home away from Santa Clara, California is in Nashville, Tennessee, which is where the tight end has been located since COVID-19 measures began requiring shelter-in-place.
Being far away from his work office hasn’t deterred Kittle though, who said that the work put in away from the field is just as important as the work put in on it.
“I think the offseason, it’s an offseason, but it’s where you can excel and where you can pass guys,” Kittle said. “It’s something I always take super serious. So the fact that I can customize my own home gym, and all the other stuff, it’s definitely been really fun for me. It’s a new playroom.”
Kittle and his wife were watching the effects of COVID-19 begin to appear before deciding to prepare for a long haul, investing in the gym that is located in Kittle’s garage.
According to Kittle, the decision to purchase equipment from GymSource was a smart one, as the majority of the items he ordered were soon sold out.
“We were like, ‘You know what? This might not go very well,’” Kittle said. “And just the way things were going, it was gonna be inevitable, I wanted to get out in front of it. I’m pretty sure, with some of the stuff I was ordering, whether that was weight equipment or whatever, a lot of it sold out within the next two or three days.”
Quick thinking and a focus on preparation helped Kittle get the setup he needed for a productive and unique offseason.
On the Super Bowl
Kittle also talked to Breer about the 2019 season, specifically the 31-20 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in the Super Bowl this past February.
The tight end said that the loss hasn’t gotten any easier to swallow in the few months since, but that he has a hunger to get back and get redemption.
“The more you watch it, the more it sucks,” Kittle said. “I will say that. It’s not like a dark cloud following me around. It is what it is, it happened. You gotta move on. I don’t know if I’ll use the loss as motivation, but there’s definitely a hunger there. I think that resonates with a lot of guys. I just wanna play football again.”
Kittle also said that the rest of the 49ers share that same hunger and have responded properly.
“And I think guys have really responded well to it. As a leader on the team, I check in on my guys, I know the tight ends are doing really well, I know our offensive guys are doing well. And we have a lot of hungry guys on defense that are training as hard as they possibly can. I think our team’s gonna come back really well from this. Like I said, I’m just ready to play football again.”
Evan Reier is a sportswriter covering the San Francisco 49ers for Heavy.com and local sports for the Montana Standard in Butte, MT. Follow and reach out to him on Twitter at @evanreier.