George Kittle has long been one of Jimmy Garoppolo's biggest cheerleaders, stating numerous times that he believes Garoppolo is the right quarterback to win a Super Bowl with the 49ers.
Garoppolo will enter training camp as QB1 but will have to hold off No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance to keep his job in 2021. To his credit, Garoppolo has said all the right things and is looking forward to working with and competing with Lance. Kittle believes that mindset is what starting quarterbacks are made of.
"If my starting quarterback was scared of competition, I don't know if he'd be my starting quarterback," Kittle said Friday at a community event in Nashville, via KRON4's Kate Rooney.
"Competition’s what makes you a good football player," Kittle continued. "If you weren’t competitive every single day, fighting for your job, you’re not going to perform at your best, you're not going to perform at your highest level. And that's what football is all about."
Lance took the practice field for the first time as a 49er on Friday and showed the skills that led coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch to tab him as the future face of the franchise.
While many quarterbacks would be miffed that their team wanted to replace them just 16 months after a Super Bowl appearance, Garoppolo understands the only thing that matters is what happens next.
"That's not really the NFL. It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately type of business," Garoppolo told CBS Sports Radio's Damon Amendolara when asked if he felt people forget how good he is. "I know that. I've known that my whole career. It's one of those things where you can't be satisfied with doing it once. You have to just every season keep going at it."
While quarterbacks like Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady have been angered by the arrival of their successors, Garoppolo has reached out to Lance and is looking forward to getting the chance to lead the 49ers back to the Super Bowl in 2021.
"But at the end of the day, like my dad was just saying, all you can ask for is the opportunity," Garoppolo told Amendolara. "So, once they said you'll have the opportunity to start this year and fight it out, I was all for it. I'm ready for the competition and that's what we're here for."
Shanahan has said it will be tough for Lance, who just turned 21 and has started just 17 games in college, to beat out Garoppolo.
But Garoppolo isn't going to hang his hat on his experience. He knows he'll have to play his best in order to keep hold of the reins in 2021.