49ers

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo calls out George Kittle for missed FaceTime

49ers' Jimmy Garoppolo calls out George Kittle for missed FaceTime

"You used to call me on my cell phone."

Jimmy Garoppolo likely might have been thinking about these Drake lyrics from "Hotline Bling" when he tried to reach 49ers teammate George Kittle on Wednesday night, following the announcement that the tight end had joined Garoppolo in the NFL's Top 100 list at No. 7 overall. Jimmy G shared that he tried to FaceTime Kittle, but wasn't getting an answer despite seeing him post on his Instagram story.

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Garoppolo checked in at No. 43 in the 2020 edition of the rankings, which are voted on exclusively by NFL players. The two were joined by linebacker Fred Warner (No. 70), cornerback Richard Sherman (No. 28) and defensive end Nick Bosa (No. 17). Kittle also ended up as the highest-rated tight end not just this season, but ever in the 10 years of this list being generated.

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Garoppolo and Kittle have had their public communication issues before. Kittle told the media assembled in Miami for Super Bowl LIV that a flaw of Garoppolo's is responding to text messages from the tight end.

"He is the worst texter of all time," Kittle said. "I'm telling you, he leaves me on 'Read' all the time. I'll be like 'Hey Jimmy, I've got a question. Maybe on this play, should I run my route like this?' No Response. 'Jimmy, want to go to a movie?' No response. And then next day he's like 'Yeah, I got your text. I just didn't respond.' Thanks, Jim. That's awesome. So yeah, he's a bad texter. Bad communication."

Although the two love to joke and have fun at each other's expense, Kittle and his quarterback will need to be in absolute sync for the 2020 NFL season, as the 49ers look to avenge a heartbreaking loss to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV.

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

49ers' Mike McGlinchey hopes NFL players hold themselves accountable

The 49ers are scheduled to open the 2020 NFL season on Sept. 13 against the Arizona Cardinals.

They will compete head-to-head against the teams on their 16-game regular-season schedule, but 49ers right tackle Mike McGlinchey also is mindful that all players – even those on different teams – are on the same side in trying to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

Typically, almost anything goes in the midst of a pileup at the line of scrimmage, where the same defensive linemen and offensive linemen might be waging one-on-one battles in close quarters for more than 60 snaps a game.

This season, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, more might be at stake on game days than just the outcome of a football game.

“You really hope guys are really pros about everything that’s going on this season because it’s not just your teammates and your teammates’ families,” McGlinchey said Monday in a video call with Bay Area reporters. “Once you start playing games, you’re affecting the entire league at that point.

“Hopefully, everybody can have the discipline and control and the accountability to one another that we can make this thing move as smoothly as possible, especially in the trenches when we are up close and personal.”

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The hopes of the NFL being able to carry out an entire season will be contingent on teams reducing the spread of the virus. Oakley has developed a clear plastic face shield designed to block the direct path of droplets while allowing for airflow and soundwaves for communication.

McGlinchey said he will try it out at some point in training camp once helmets are allowed during practices, but he will not switch to the new protective device if he believes it hinders his ability to breathe.

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George Kittle's agent says 'minimal' progress in 49ers contract talks

George Kittle's agent says 'minimal' progress in 49ers contract talks

George Kittle is participating in training camp, but the elephant in the room doesn't seem to be going away anytime soon.

The 49ers tight end is entering the last year of his rookie contract, and thus is eligible to sign a massive contract extension. Jack Bechta, Kittle's agent, told NFL Media's Mike Silver on Sunday that the sides haven't made much headway.

"[Bechta] said progress has been minimal, and later reinforced that by texting me an inchworm emoji to underscore that fact," Silver recalled Monday on NFL Network. "It's not just money -- there is structure, and how much money a player like George Kittle could get upfront (and) how much would actually be guaranteed.

"And at the heart of all this has been somewhat of a philosophical divide between the 49ers, who say, 'Listen, we want to pay you more than any tight end ever because you're the greatest tight end,' and Kittle's camp which saying, 'Don't view me as a tight end. I was just voted the seventh-best player in football at any position.' "

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Kittle arguably has been the best tight end in the NFL over the last two seasons, setting the position's single-season record for receiving yards (1,377) in 2018 and making the All-Pro First Team last season. No other 49ers tight end has ever had 1,000-plus receiving yards in a season, and Kittle has done it twice. The 26-year-old also is a key blocker in San Francisco's running game, which accrued more yards on the ground (2,305) last season than all but one other team.

He's incredibly valuable to the 49ers, and Kittle's banking on that value translating into a precedent-smashing contract that will pay him more like a wide receiver than a top tight tend. The 49ers, at least so far, don't seem willing to go there just yet.

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Can Kittle and the 49ers bridge the divide before the start of the season on Sept. 13? Silver said this is a "big week" for the negotiations because it's the last before Kittle "puts himself in a more perilous position, potentially, when real practices start."

If this week is going to mark any kind of progress, the inchworm is going to need to evolve rather quickly.