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Kittle leads Super Bowl-bound 49ers through words and actions

San Francisco 49ers George Kittle George Kittle - The Canadian Press

Everything was going wrong for the San Francisco 49ers in the first half of their NFC Championship battle with the Detroit Lions last Sunday.

The 49ers went to the break trailing 24-7, having shown little life on either offence or defence.

Watch Super Bowl LVIII LIVE on Sunday, Feb. 11 with kickoff scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT. on TSN and CTV. 

During the second quarter, NFL Films cameras caught 49ers tight end George Kittle on the sideline predicting to his teammates what he was going to say in the post game after they came back to win and spending a little extra time to lift the spirits of second-year quarterback Brock Purdy

The 49ers did complete that comeback and the five-time Pro Bowler was able to deliver on his promise.

“They had us in the first half, not gonna lie,” Kittle said to Fox’s Michael Strahan on the podium during the NFC Championship trophy presentation, reciting an old, popular internet meme.

Kittle has proven himself on and off the field to be a vital ingredient in the 49ers success.

In this season’s Divisional Round game against the Green Bay Packers, Kittle caught four passes for 81 yards and a touchdown as the 49ers advanced in the playoffs.

His seven-year NFL career is littered with big catches, blocks or games that happen at just the right time to lift the fortunes of the Niners.

The 30-year-old was selected in the fifth round (146th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft by the 49ers and made his debut in Week 1 of the following season, catching five passes for 27 yards against the Carolina Panthers.

He began to flex his muscles as one of the best tight ends in the game in his second year as he was selected to the Pro Bowl for the first time and named to the AP All-Pro second team.

In season three he was named to the first team for the first of two times and once again selected for the Pro Bowl.

Over the course of his 98-game NFL career, Kittle has amassed 6,274 yards and 37 touchdowns on 460 receptions.

Kittle has also dabbled in the wrestling world since coming into the league, including forming a friendship with All Elite Wrestling star Penta El Zero Miedo.

After making big plays he can be seen doing Penta’s Cero Miedo (Zero Fear) hand signal.

George Kittle San Francisco 49ers

“I met Penta in 2018 in New Orleans at WrestleMania, and I watched him wrestling three or four different times over the course of that week,” Kittle told Sports Illustrated in October. “I was instantly drawn to his swagger and demeanor, how he drew love from the crowd. He was an exciting watch and when I was able to meet him, I learned that he is an awesome human being as well – I admire his Cero Miedo mindset.”

He made an appearance at WrestleMania 39, coming out of the crowd to clothesline wrestler Mike “The Miz” Mizanin.

In 2021, Kittle teamed with former NFLer and current broadcaster Greg Olsen as well as one of his Super Bowl LVIII opponents, two-time champion Travis Kelce to form Tight End University.

TEU is a summit where Tight Ends can fine-tune their skills and learn from some of the best to ever play the position.

"Basically we're in a classroom two of the days," Kittle told NFL Network's Good Morning Football in June. "(We will cover) run game, running routes, your mental approach to the game of football, the best ways to recover, what your mindset is before certain plays and how you read coverages.”

Kittle was also named a finalist for the NFL’s Salute to Service Award for the work that he continues to do to show appreciation for the military community.