49ers’ George Kittle Publicly Challenges Jimmy Garoppolo, Trey Lance

49ers George Kittle

Getty George Kittle #85 of the San Francisco 49ers.

Tight end George Kittle welcomes a challenge, even from members of his own position group, and he expects the rest of his San Francisco 49ers teammates to do the same.

Prior to the 2021 NFL draft, Kittle told NFL Network’s Good Morning Football that the idea of the 49ers selecting Florida standout tight end Kyle Pitts with the No. 3 pick made him downright giddy with excitement about the possibilities on offense.

Kittle’s thinking was that not only was Pitts’ immense talent not a threat, but that competition would only serve as a bridge to greatness. On Friday, May 14, the outspoken All-Pro went on record again suggesting that whoever wins the Niners’ starting quarterback job this season had better share a similar attitude.

“If my starting quarterback is scared of competition, I don’t know if he would be my starting quarterback,” Kittle told reporters at a community event in Nashville, Tennessee, via KRON’s Kate Rooney.

“So yeah, I’m very excited to see Jimmy G out there. I’m excited to go back next week and see all those boys. It’s just going to be fun to play football again,” Kittle continued. “Like I said, competition’s what makes you a good football player. If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best. You’re not going to perform at your highest level. And that’s what football is all about.”

Shanahan: Lance Unlikely to Beat out Garoppolo Before Week 1

Trey Lance, NFL draft

GettyTrey Lance, quarterback out of North Dakota State University, was drafted third overall by the San Francisco 49ers.

Appearing on The Michael Irvin Podcast on Friday, May 14, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said it is unlikely that rookie quarterback Trey Lance will beat out veteran starter Jimmy Garoppolo prior to the first game of the 2021 regular season. However, he also would not rule out Lance surprising everyone on staff by winning the job.

“Yeah, there’s a chance for that at every single position on our team,” Shanahan told Irvin. “I think that would be very hard. Jimmy is a really good quarterback. (Lance is) not just coming in and trying to take out some bridge quarterback or something.”

Shanahan continued to praise Garoppolo while referencing his injury history, a consistent theme since trading up to draft the quarterback’s eventual replacement in April.

“Jimmy is a guy who we brought here to be our franchise quarterback, and it really worked out for one year. That doesn’t mean it can’t work out. We just hope he stays healthy,” Shanahan said. “But Trey has that ability too. But he has only played one year of college football. He missed last season. So it’s not coming in at all with me expecting that. I don’t know what I expect. I expect him to be a real good player.”

Veterans Show up in Droves to 49ers’ Voluntary Offseason Program

Jimmy Garoppolo Injury

GettyGeorge Kittle and Jimmy Garoppolo both battled injuries in 2020.

Kittle and Garoppolo were among a significant contingent of 49ers veterans who showed up to phase two of San Francisco’s voluntary offseason program on Monday, May 17. Lance made his first appearance at the team’s three-day rookie minicamp from May 14-16.

According to Cam Inman of The Mercury News, more than 80 of a possible 90 players arrived for the second phase of the 49ers’ voluntary workouts. Phase one is rookies only, while phase two is characterized by veterans and rookies mingling during on-field drills.

Full team, 11-on-11 action, will not begin until phase three, starting with OTA offseason workouts next week on May 24.

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