49ers' George Kittle breaks NFL season record for receiving yards by tight end

49ers' George Kittle breaks NFL season record for receiving yards by tight end

LOS ANGELES -- George Kittle broke the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end in his final game -- and on his final catch -- of the year.

Needing just 2 more yards to set the mark Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, the San Francisco 49ers star caught Nick Mullens' short pass and took it 43 yards for a touchdown with 2:20 to play.

Travis Kelce, the Kansas City Chiefs tight end who sent Kittle a signed jersey this past week as the two chased history, held the record for just a few moments Sunday. He caught five passes for 62 yards in a rout of the Oakland Raiders, giving him 1,336 yards on the season. New England Patriots star Rob Gronkowski’s league record of 1,327 yards had stood from 2011.

Kittle countered with nine catches for 149 yards, though, finishing with 1,377 on the season to snatch away the record.

Kittle also broke Eric Johnson’s 49ers single-season record for the most receptions by a tight end. Johnson caught 82 of his 117 targets for 825 yards and two touchdowns in his record-setting 2004 season. Kittle finished the day with nine receptions, giving him 88 on 136 targets on the season.

The second-year pro fell just 5 yards shy of breaking Shannon Sharpe's NFL single-game record for receiving yards by a tight end three weeks ago. Kittle caught seven passes for 210 yards in the first half against the Denver Broncos, but he didn't have a reception in the second half, causing 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan to apologize for the oversight.

There wasn't an oversight this time, though, as Shanahan went right to Kittle with little time left, first with a 6-yard pass to the right, then the record-setting throw in the 49ers' 48-32 season-ending loss.

Team management was waiting for Kittle in the tunnel with congratulations.

For Kittle, it's now on to the Pro Bowl, then preparations for the 49ers' 2019 season.

Chris Simms explains why Odell Beckham fits 49ers better than Antonio Brown

Chris Simms explains why Odell Beckham fits 49ers better than Antonio Brown

Chris Simms, the former NFL quarterback, current NBC Sports analyst and long-time friend of Kyle Shanahan, can envision the 49ers being interested in a big-name wide receiver this offseason.

Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham?

While Simms said he believes the 49ers would have interest in either wide receiver, he has no doubt which player would give the 49ers a bigger lift with less risk.

“I do think Odell Beckham Jr. is the better player,” Simms said on the 49ers Insider Podcast.

“I would say Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t even reached the prime of his career, yet.”

Brown met Tuesday with Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney II. Brown reported on social media that the sides “agreed to move on.”

Brown, it appears, will be available, either in a trade or as a free agent, if the Steelers cut him. Beckham might also be available in a trade from the New York Giants. Both players are among the most productive receivers in the NFL.

Brown turns 31 in July. Beckham turned 26 in November.

“In my own personal opinion -- I watch a lot of film and break down teams and games and players -- I thought Antonio Brown did lose a step a little bit this year,” Simms said. “He’s still great, but he’s not the guy we saw three or four years ago. This is the age where receivers start to lose explosiveness and speed a little bit.”

In the first two offseasons of Shanahan and general manager John Lynch, the club worked to add veterans of high character. Simms said he gets frustrated when people lump Brown and Beckham together as having similar off-field concerns.

“I think Antonio Brown comes with a whole lot more baggage than Odell Beckham Jr.,” Simms said.

Brown has been involved in a long list of off-field issues and dramas during a career that has also included seven trips to the Pro Bowl and six consecutive seasons with at least 101 receptions and 1,284 yards.

[RELATED: Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown? 49ers have need, and decision to make]

“Antonio Brown works very hard. He’s a hell of a football player. I get all of that. And I know his work ethic is through the roof,” Simms said. “But the one thing I’ve always been told from people in Pittsburgh – players, coaches, front office people – is it’s all about Antonio Brown.

“At the end of the day, he doesn’t care if the Steelers win or lose. He just wants to know how many catches he had, how many yards he had. He is habitually late on a weekly basis. So he is a handful.”

Antonio Brown meets with Steelers owner, says 'it is time to move on'

Antonio Brown meets with Steelers owner, says 'it is time to move on'

After months of airing out his feelings towards the Steelers, Antonio Brown has finally met with team owner Art Rooney II. 

Rooney wasn't the only member of Steelers management at the meeting in Florida. Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and exec Omar Kahn were also in attendance, reports ESPN's Adam Schefter, and it's clear a trade is on the horizon. 

The meeting comes the morning after the All-Pro receiver went on Instagram and said the following:

"If your team got guaranteed money, they want to get to know me and work with me, tell 'em call me. ... Call me Mr. Big Chest! Big Chest for now on. Big Chest Brown for now on! Don't even call me AB. Just call me Big Chest. Yeah, I'm Mr. Big Chest!" 

Brown also recently sent out a series of tweets, one in which he calls out Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for his "owners mentality." Even though his talent is obvious, Brown's social media presence has turned some teams away, reports Peter King.

Ever since his request to be dealt, Brown has found himself at the center of trade rumors this offseason. And it all started with 49ers tight end George Kittle recruiting the star wide receiver on Twitter. 

It didn't stop there with the 49ers, too. Brown has made his desire to wear red and gold clear, and he's even posted a picture of himself in a Photoshopped 49ers jersey on Instagram. He's even become close with Jerry Rice, and the 49ers legend has vowed to mentor him if he's traded to San Francisco. 

[RELATED: Odell Beckham Jr. or Antonio Brown? 49ers have need, and decision to make]

Last week, Brown was found guilty of reckless driving in a Pennsylvania court and did not attend his hearing. The 31-year-old is also being sued in Florida for throwing furniture off of a 14th-floor balcony, and nearly hitting a toddler and his grandfather. 

The future seems inevitable. Brown's time in Pittsburgh essentially has come to an end, but his new home is still a mystery.