It’s a relationship for the ages, lasting well longer than the average couple stays together.
When George Kittle and C.J. Beathard step onto the field on Saturday it will be just like old times. The two have been playing football on the same team for the better part of a decade, which is extremely rare in the NFL.
The 49ers quarterback and tight end started their football relationship at Iowa as freshmen in 2013. Saturday will be the first time the two will start a game together since October of 2018. They did both appear in Weeks 4 and 5 this season but Beathard was not the starter in either contest.
Kittle, in his first game back after missing six consecutive weeks due to a broken bone in his foot is projected to be on a pitch count but still can’t wait for the on-field “reunion.” The All-Pro believes Beathard, who has survived unbelievable adversity over the past year, is ready to let it rip.
“I know he’s really excited,” Kittle said. “All he’s done is wait for an opportunity to play and he’s finally getting that opportunity. I know he’s very motivated and inspired to play. You’re going to see a side of C.J. that I expect to see every time he takes the field.
“I think he’s going to have a lot of fun out there.”
Beathard has appeared in four contests in 2020, completing 28 of his 45 attempts for 332 yards, two touchdowns. He has been primarily used in two-minute drill situations with 45 pass attempts in 59 offensive plays (76%).
Normally a quarterback change is a marked adjustment for a team’s offense but for the 49ers, Beathard is someone who they are very familiar with. He has started 10 games under center and appeared in an additional seven games over the past four seasons.
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“The great thing about C.J. is that he’s probably the most stubborn person I’ve been around my entire life,” Kittle said. “But that also goes to show how consistent he is on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter if he is the starter or second string or third string he comes to work every day.
“It’s really exciting. This is our ninth year on the same team together in a row which is pretty cool and it’s special. He’s one of my best friends and just looking forward to sharing the field with him again.”
Beathard, without the weight of the post season on his shoulders is ready to go out and enjoy being on the field for what could be the his last two games with the organization. The quarterback is set to become a free agent in the offseason. The Iowa product is not thinking about the future yet, keeping his focus on the task ahead - playing spoiler for the Arizona Cardinals.
“I think it's an opportunity to go out there and have some fun, got there and let it rip and just have some fun,” Beathard said on Wednesday. “Don't think too much about the future because you never know what the future holds. So, I'm just really focused on just going out there and doing what I can do and having some fun.”