Legendary quarterback Joe Montana turned some heads when he commented on the San Francisco 49ers quarterback situation, and now tight end George Kittle is responding.
In a recent interview with The Ringer, Montana was asked about what the Niners should do at quarterback after the 2021 season. His track record carries the weight of his opinion, as the four-time Super Bowl champion and three-time first-team All-Pro said that moving on from 30-year-old QB Jimmy Garoppolo was the wrong move.
For Montana, second-year QB Trey Lance just isn’t ready.
“I think they keep Jimmy until you find somebody else,” Montana said on February 10. “I don’t think Trey’s ready to play yet, as myself and after talking to some of the players. I think it’s one of those things that if you can keep Jimmy healthy, he plays well enough to get you [to the Super Bowl.]”
Veterans and team legends often don’t hold back when it comes to opinions like this, but the specific detail that Montana mentions about talking to active players is what adds a new dimension to the comments.
However, don’t count Kittle as one of the players that told the former 49ers QB that Lance isn’t ready to go.
ALL the latest 49ers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on 49ers newsletter here!
Kittle Questioned About Montana’s Comments
During a recent night out, TMZ caught Kittle for a quick interview. As one might guess, the topic of Garoppolo and Lance came up right away. As he famous for doing, Kittle kept it cool as he was asked, “Do you think Trey Lance is ready to be the starter for the 49ers?”
After giving an emphatic “yeah,” Kittle was followed up by the interviewer who mentioned Montana’s comment above.
“I play tight end and whoever’s throwing me the football, I can’t wait to catch footballs from them baby,” Kittle said.
Finally, Kittle was asked if he thinks the 49ers should keep Garoppolo, which he answered with the same composure.
“Whatever’s best for the football team,” Kittle said. “Whatever [head coach] Kyle Shanahan and [general manager] John Lynch decide, it’s gonna be great.”
He did mention that he loves Jimmy G and credited his part in two trips to the NFC Championship and one appearance in the Super Bowl.
Lance on Outside Noise
On the same day that Montana’s comments hit the public space, Lance did an interview with Niners Nation recapping his first season in the NFL and how he feels going forward.
In terms of criticism and speculation, Lance said that he doesn’t pay much attention. It’s important to note this wasn’t in response to Montana, the comments just dropped at around the same time.
“I only worry about people in our building, my teammates, my coaches,” Lance said. “At the end of the day, if I’m worrying about—no offense—but what everyone in your profession says, that’s not my job to worry about. So I’m going to keep trying to handle business the best I can, and be a good teammate, be a good leader, and find my role.”
Lance appears to be talking about reporters and media members directly, so it’s interesting to wonder if Montana’s comments felt any different, or if the young QB is tuning it out with everything else.