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George Kittle Comments on 49ers' QB Competition with Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance

Jenna CiccotelliCorrespondent IIMay 16, 2021

AP Photo/Jennifer Stewart

San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle is eager to watch the quarterback situation play out this offseason. 

The 49ers have options under center with Jimmy Garoppolo returning and the arrival of Trey Lance, who the team traded up to draft at No. 3 overall.

Speaking to reporters at an event in Nashville on Friday, Kittle said this type of pressure is "what football is all about." 

Kate Rooney @TheKateRooney

George Kittle sighting! At a community event in Nashville today, Kittle was asked about Jimmy G's reaction to competing with Trey Lance. #49ers <br><br>Thanks @CalBaxter for the video. pic.twitter.com/5ixhFdLFNK

"If my starting quarterback was scared of competition, I don't know if he'd be my starting quarterback," he added. 

"Competition’s what makes you a good football player," Kittle continued. "If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best."

Kittle, who has earned two All-Pro nods in his four-year career—playing all of it alongside Garoppolo when the former New England Patriot was healthy—will likely be able to adjust whoever is throwing balls his way this season. 

There might not even be the competition he's hinting at, if head coach Kyle Shanahan has anything to say about it. 

Despite the blockbuster trade leading up to the draft, 49ers brass has maintained that Garoppolo will be the starter again in 2021 as he heads into his eighth season in the league. 

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"Jimmy's definitely our starter right now, and right now there isn't competition, because I don't believe Trey would be in a position to compete," Shanahan said on The Rich Eisen Show at the beginning of May (h/t Jack Baer of Yahoo Sports). "Jimmy is too good of a player, he's got too good of a grasp of our offense." 

While Garoppolo is a risky choice given his rocky injury history (he's only appeared in 16 games once since joining the 49ers in 2017), Lance is also a unique case for a top quarterback. He only played in one game in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he made 16 appearances for North Dakota State in 2019. 

Whatever happens in camp, at least Kittle sounds like he'll be ready for it.

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