49ers

Where 49ers' George Kittle got his celebration, no-fear mentality from

Where 49ers' George Kittle got his celebration, no-fear mentality from

You might have noticed George Kittle's first-down celebration. Given 53 of his 85 receptions last season resulted in a 49ers first-down conversion, there has been ample opportunity to witness it.

Upon regaining his feet -- that is, assuming the defense is able to bring him down -- Kittle raises his hand in the air, makes a circle with his thumb and pointer finger while extending the other three and then dips his wrist in a forward motion.

The celebration is synonymous with Kittle, and as one defensive back admitted in the player testimonial video discussing his No. 7 overall ranking the NFL Top 100, even he can't help but like it.

But Kittle didn't come up with the celebration on his own. As the 49ers tight end explained to ESPN's Tory Zawacki Roy, the inspiration behind it comes from one of his main off-the-field passions: Professional wrestling.

And more specifically, it's an ode to his favorite wrestler: AEW star Pentagon, whose motto "cero miedo" -- meaning "zero fear" -- defines Kittle's on-field mentality.

"When you're playing football, you have to have that zero fear," Kittle told Roy. "Because if you're scared, you're going to maybe not reach out for a ball, because there's a safety in the middle of the field. Or you might not want to make a play because you're going to be hit really hard.

"You have to have zero fear."

Kittle and Pentagon, who share a mutual respect, met at WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans and exchanged gifts. Pentagon received a jersey. Kittle left with one of his more prized possessions.

"This is his mask, but he customized it," Kittle said while showing the luchador's mask to Roy. "There's a dragon on the side. It's in the 49ers colors. He threw up the number 85 on there for me. It's definitely one of my favorite items that I own."

[RELATED: Kittle tells story explaining why Shanahan is a 'wizard']

Kittle, though, has taken it a step further beyond imitating Pentagon's patented gesture. 

"Don't ask my wife," he added, "but I definitely walk around the house in this thing."

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

NFL rumors: Seahawks 'talking to both' Everson Griffen, Clay Matthews

Jadeveon Clowney no longer fits into the Seattle Seahawks' plans -- nor is he a consideration for the 49ers -- due to the free agent's salary demands. It's difficult to see a path in which he would return for a second season with the Seahawks -- that is, unless he significantly lowered those demands.

Nobody, including the Seahawks, is counting on that. Consequently, they reportedly have turned their attention to two other free agent pass-rushers: Everson Griffen and Clay Matthews.

NFL Media's Mike Silver reported Thursday that Seattle could soon come to an agreement with one or both of the veteran free agents.

"The Seahawks' price has come way down," Silver said. "Clowney's price, if anything, is above their original $15 million-plus offer. So, maybe the (Tennessee) Titans, but we'll see on Clowney. But yeah, Everson Griffen -- long career with the (Minnesota) Vikings -- and then Clay Matthews, who had I thought a pretty good year with the (Los Angeles) Rams after he was healthy after his long run in Green Bay. Two former (USC) Trojans who can get after the passer. They are talking to both and I think a move could come pretty quickly, at least with one of them."

Griffen was drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round in 2010 and has spent his entire career with the franchise up to this point, amassing 74.5 career sacks over that span. Matthews, meanwhile, spent the first 10 seasons of his career with the Packers before joining the Rams for this past season. He has totaled 91.5 sacks over 11 seasons, including 8.0 in 2019.

[RELATED: Bosa believes Kinlaw will 'kill it' in his 49ers rookie season]

Both Griffen and Matthews would present a significant upgrade for Seattle's pass rush, particularly considering Clowney is unlikely to be a part of it. The Seahawks' 28 sacks last season tied for the second-fewest in the NFL, while their adjusted sack rate ranked 30th in the league -- and that was with Clowney.

While Griffen and Matthews have both been productive, neither is the potential game-wrecker that Clowney is. Nonetheless, should Seattle add one or both of them, it should only make them more competitive within the NFC West.

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

49ers' Nick Bosa expects Javon Kinlaw to 'kill it' in rookie season

Nick Bosa already had no doubts 49ers rookie defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw would be able to immediately compete in the NFL due to his strength.

And after taking part in an offseason of video meetings and seeing him for a short period of time on the 49ers’ practice field, Bosa is confident Kinlaw will not be overwhelmed mentally, either.

“Javon is a really good kid,” said Bosa, 22, who also happens to be 20 days younger than Kinlaw.

The 49ers selected Kinlaw with the No. 14 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft to, in effect, take the spot of DeForest Buckner, whom San Francisco traded to the Indianapolis Colts in the offseason for a first-round pick.

“He’s really hard-working in the meeting room,” Bosa said of Kinlaw. “He knows all his stuff really well. He doesn’t seem like a rookie out there. We’ve only been out to a couple of walk-throughs so far and he knows his stuff. He doesn’t look like a rookie.”

[RELATED: Bosa Bros have talked about possibility of playing together]

When Bosa said Kinlaw doesn't look like a rookie, he also means that his body type is impressive. Kinlaw is listed at 6-foot-5, 319 pounds.

“He’s one of the biggest humans I’ve ever seen in person," Bosa added. "That says a lot when you’ve had Arik (Armstead) and Buck on your team. I’m just excited for him to have this opportunity, and I think he’s going to kill it.”

[49ERS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]