49ers

Why being No. 7 on NFL Top 100 meant so much to Kittle

49ers
USATSI

Look, George Kittle certainly is a happy camper with his record-setting five-year, $75 million contract extension. A different record might have made him even happier, though. 

Kittle's fellow peers around the league voted the 49ers' star tight end as the No. 7 overall player in the NFL Top 100 going into this season. That's the highest ranking ever for a player at his position in the 10-year history of the NFL Top 100. Kittle couldn't be happier to earn the respect of his peers, too.

"It's an honor, honestly," Kittle said Wednesday on 95.7 The Game. "That's what you play the game for. Every snap you take goes on your resume, and guys around the league are watching. That's how you get your respect around the league."

Kittle also was the highest-ranked member of the 49ers since Aldon Smith came in at No. 7 in 2013. He jumped 22 spots this year, going from No. 29 to No. 7 after helping lead the 49ers to Super Bowl LIV. 

RELATED: How Aiyuk has impressed Kittle early in 49ers training camp

The former fifth-round draft pick has played with a chip on his shoulder since entering the NFL in 2017. It didn't take him long to become a star for the 49ers, but that doesn't mean he can't care about the respect of his fellow players anymore.

 

"I'm honored and it's just an incredible experience to be thought about by your peers who you work with," Kittle said. "Just thankful, honestly."