San Francisco 49ers star tight end George Kittle is sticking by his quarterback.
With a tight Super Bowl contention window, rumors are swirling that the 49ers may consider moving on from an inconsistent Jimmy Garoppolo — who will sit out 11 games of the 2020 season with a high ankle sprain sustained in Week 2 and re-aggravated in Week 7. Kittle reiterated his support and hope that the 29-year-old signal-caller stays in San Francisco for 2021.
"I do believe that," Kittle said, asked if he thought Garoppolo would be the 49ers quarterback in 2021.
"From personal experience, Jimmy is the guy that attacks every single day, whether its a bad game or a great game he comes in every day the same guy and does that on a consistent basis," Kittle said in the interview on 95.7 The Game. "He doesn't point fingers, he always shoulders the blame. I think being the quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers comes with high expectations. When he plays good, people love him, and if he has a bad throw, people throw him under the bus. There's a lot of limelight that comes with being the starting quarterback here."
Kittle isn't the only one in the 49ers organization saying he expects Garoppolo back in red and gold next season. Head coach Kyle Shanahan kept it simple and to the point with reporters over Zoom on Monday: "Yes, I do believe Jimmy is going to be our quarterback next year," citing Garoppolo's 24-9 overall record with the team, including last year's 15-win run that ended in a Super Bowl loss, as some justification.
Shanahan also rebuffed the idea that Garoppolo's $24 million price tag for 2021 could hamper further a salary cap strapped San Francisco organization in the coming years, saying its the going rate for a quarterback of Garoppolo's caliber.
"We better have a very good answer if you're going to find somebody better than that," Shanahan said on Monday. "Because Jimmy's shown in one year, he's somebody who can take us to the Super Bowl, and I also think Jimmy's going to get a lot better the more he plays."
Kittle heard his coach's words loud and clear.
"John Lynch and Shanahan came on and said Jimmy is our guy, so I have faith in those two guys because they've made incredible decisions since they've been with the Niners," Kittle said to Nick Friedell and Sean Salisbury.
"Probably more than what's in my contract currently. A lot of questions this whole offseason and I haven't changed sides. I'm a football player, I know what it takes to be a football player, and I have faith in Jimmy."
Kittle wants Garoppolo back, so what is his message for those who might want a fresh start at the quarterback position in San Francisco?
"Well, my answer as a football player is, that's why we're football players and the people watching aren't," he said. "And, I think, just the fact he went to the Super Bowl the year after tearing his ACL and played the way he did and the level he played at. If a guy has one good season and he can't play well again, I understand that."
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