Being compared to a fictional murderous clown normally wouldn't be a compliment, but Halloween isn't a normal time of year.
In honor of the holiday, ESPN's Ryan Clark listed his five scariest NFL players on "Get Up" on Friday, and 49ers tight end George Kittle cracked the list at No. 3. Clark compared Kittle to Pennywise, the antagonist of the Stephen King novel (and subsequent television and film adaptations), "It."
"If a dude is one of the top three pass-catching tight ends in the league, and he says, 'I'd rather drive a dude under the field-goal posts on a touchdown run,' that means that's a bad dude," Clark said of Kittle in a segment with Mike Greenberg. "That's the type of dude that hides in sewers, and when your little boat goes into the sewer, he opens up his fricking mouth and clamps down on you like Pennywise.
"That's who George Kittle is. He's gonna kill you in the pass game, but in the run game, he will drive you under the bench. He doesn't want all the pretty stuff, and have you seen his new haircut, Greeny? If a dude got a haircut like that, that means he does not care."
Neither Tim Curry's Pennywise nor Bill Skarsgård's seemed to care much about their hair, but they nonetheless scared the Losers Club. Clark thinks Kittle strikes similar fear into opposing defenses, and for good reason.
Kittle's a matchup nightmare, capable of beating elite cornerbacks off the line of scrimmage and earning a reputation as one of the best blockers at his position. No tight end has made more defenders miss tackles than Kittle, and none seem to genuinely enjoy blocking as much as the All-Pro.
You don't need to be in the spirit of the season to compare him to a killer clown, either. You can do it year-round, as Kittle has a tattoo of Heath Ledger's Joker from "The Dark Knight" on his left forearm.
"I don't try to channel all the Joker, obviously, because he has some issues," Kittle told ESPN's Nick Wagoner before last season. "Creating a little bit of chaos is just kind of what I try to do. I'm just trying to be the most outgoing, craziest person on the field."
No matter which fictitious jester you find scarier, lining up across from Kittle might have them both beat if you ask NFL players. Clark was one of the NFL's toughest safeties during his 13-year career, and he sounded like he would want no part of Kittle.
Unlike Georgie Denbrough, Clark's not going anywhere near the sewer. Active NFL players would be wise to do the same.