Kittle dismisses 'chatter' about Niners trading Garoppolo
By Rob Maaddi
AP Pro Football Writer
George Kittle dismissed talk about the San Francisco 49ers possibly trading Jimmy Garoppolo the way he sheds tacklers after making catches.
“I think it’s speculation. I think it’s rumors. I think it’s chatter,” Kittle said on the AP Pro Football Podcast. “I think people on social media like to talk about things that I don’t know if they have any idea about. Being in the building, in the locker room, I don’t really hear anything in there. So I’m just confident my quarterback, when he’s healthy, he’s a hell of a football player.”
Kittle, a two-time Pro Bowl tight end and 2019 All-Pro, said he hasn’t talked to Garoppolo about it. The 49ers reportedly had interest in Matthew Stafford before Detroit traded him to the Los Angeles Rams.
“I think it’s his second or third year of dealing with these exact same rumors every single offseason,” Kittle said. “And he just comes back to work and he just goes back and he plays and not worried about it. I think Jimmy’s a grown man and he can deal with that. And, he’s a hell of a quarterback.”
Garoppolo has two years remaining on his five-year, $137.5 million contract. He has a no-trade clause for the 2021 league year.
The Niners went from losing to Kansas City in the Super Bowl last year to 6-10. Injuries were a major factor. Garoppolo, Kittle, cornerback Richard Sherman, edge rusher Nick Bosa, running back Raheem Mostert and receiver Deebo Samuel all missed at least half the season.
“When you have that many injuries, especially to key players, we lost a lot of guys early and I think it just kind of prohibited us from getting that unity, getting that flow going as an offense,” Kittle said. “Our defense played at a high level all year, despite all the guys that they missed. But we just had so many guys in and out of the huddle early on offense. I think that was a struggle for us, especially because we have a young team on offense as well. So you just got to stay healthy and really I’m not worried about anything else other than that.”