George Kittle might forgive, but he never forgets.
Trey Lance underestimated the 49ers All Pro’s speed on a deep pass during training camp, and Kittle has yet to let it go. The No. 3 overall pick might never live it down. However, it’s always in good fun with the tight end.
Overall, Kittle has been impressed with the rookie signal-caller, who has shown his maturity in the locker room and on the field. But until the two connect on a go route or a deep post, expect the sarcastic jabbing of Lance to continue.
“He’s 21 years old, it is what it is,” Kittle said with a laugh. “He will hopefully learn at some point and just throw the ball out there.”
Kittle has noticed the rookie quarterback’s work ethic and appreciates his diligence. Lance also has quickly fit into a locker room that has been very close-knit since coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch came to Santa Clara.
“He’s very professional every single day,” Kittle said. “He enjoys it. I like being around people that enjoy what they do, love what they do. You can tell by the time and effort he puts in -- whether he is in the training room, at his locker looking at his iPad, he is just always doing something. He is never wasting time, and I appreciate that.”
Kittle, who entered the league at 23 years old, makes fun of the rookie’s age but also recognizes the challenges it presents. Regardless of the age difference, the tight end has taken reps with the second team, and the two have been developing chemistry on the field.
The tight end also is one of the regular “receivers” during quarterback warm-ups.
“Trey’s great,” Kittle said. “He’s got a great personality, he’s got plenty of energy. He has a good vibe. He’s definitely a 21-year-old. I connect with him well now, and I think we would have been best friends if I was 21.
“He definitely has his head on a lot straighter than I did when I was 21, and I know that I would not be in the NFL as a 21-year-old, so kudos to him.”