Bill Belichick has seen it all over his 26 years as a head coach in the NFL, and the many other years he was an assistant. He has coached some of the greatest players ever, and also game-planned against countless greats as well.
But he never has seen something like 49ers tight end George Kittle. Those are his words, not mine.
“Kittle is a great player,” the New England Patriots head coach said Monday to local Bay Area reporters. “He does everything well. Good as anybody that I’ve coached, or as good as anybody we’ve played against.
"He’s got a great skill set.”
Kittle was blown away by the legendary coach's praise, to say the least.
"It's incredible, it is," Kittle said on the latest episode of "Candlestick Chronicles." "I've been watching coach Belichick coach for a long time, since I was a little kid. To get that comment from him, I respect him a lot. Someone like him who's had the success he's had and who's been able to sustain it for as long as he has and has seen players come and go and has seen players who he thinks are great players -- I just appreciate those comments."
Sunday will be the first time Kittle has played against Belichick and the Patriots in his four-year career. Despite missing two games to a knee sprain, Kittle leads the 49ers in receptions with 30 in just four games. That's 13 more than any other 49er. He also leads the team in receiving yards (380) and receiving touchdowns (2).
There's no doubt Kittle will be Belichick's main target when finding ways to stop Kyle Shanahan's offense. To Kittle, though, Belichick's praise only pumps him up for his Week 7 showdown with the Patriots.
"All it does is it just fires me up to play against him for the first time in my career this weekend," Kittle said. "Now I'm just ready to go to Boston."
Rob Gronkowski in his peak? Nope, it's Kittle who has impressed Belichick the most in his long coaching career, and the 49ers tight end is ready to show him why this Sunday.