There’s more to the 49ers' locker room than meets the eye.
Each player that sits down behind the microphone for interviews is pleasant and polite, even after a loss. George Kittle says that is definitely not the mentality when they step on the field, though, and Jeff Wilson is his favorite example of that.
“Jeff Wilson goes to a dark place every single game,” Kittle said. “It’s different than it is in practice. You can tell he’s angry, he attacks it, he wants contact, he deals contact. He delivers pain. It’s awesome. You can just see it in his eyes. He’s a totally different person.”
Kittle, who always is quite jovial during his media sessions, is known for the anger with which he plays. He credits coach Kyle Shanahan and former teammate Pierre Garcon for encouraging that side of himself to emerge during games.
The All-Pro tight end loves seeing that same aggression from Wilson.
“The way he runs, it’s crazy,” Kittle said. “I love being on the field with Jeff Wilson. The way he carries the football, the way he makes people look at him after he gets tackled. They are like ‘Why did it take four people to tackle that guy and why are two guys on the ground from trying to tackle him?’ Because he’s an absolute monster.”
Fred Warner agrees with Kittle and has the same mentality himself. The linebacker, who is known for his poise when dealing with the media, shows the exact opposite on the field. He frequently can be seen dusting it up with opponents during games or joint practices.
“We all for sure have a little something off,” Warner said. “Kyle talks about that where when you have guys who have something a little off and you go out there and impose your will on your opponent, obviously you see the result.”
Kittle used a different descriptor for the mentality and explained why it’s a necessity to survive and succeed in the NFL. He is just glad that he isn’t the only one on the roster with those tendencies.
“Football is a violent sport,” Kittle said. “If you don’t go to that place and be violent and be physical, you’re not going to last very long. Coach Shanahan always talks about, ‘Find the dark place.'
“It’s fun to be part of a team with a bunch of psychopaths, because I fit in very well here.”