Richard Sherman is a three-time All-Pro and likely future Hall of Fame cornerback, but it was tight end George Kittle who starred for the 49ers last season.
Kittle, in just his second NFL campaign, broke the single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end. He finished the year with 1,377 yards on 88 receptions and scored five touchdowns.
And yet it's Sherman who Kittle looks up to every single day at 49ers practice. Even though Sherman plays on the other side of the ball, Kittle is watching his every move.
"His work ethic every single snap. Every snap for him is a Super Bowl rep," Kittle said in an interview with NBC Sports' Peter King. "He's not gonna let anyone beat him on any single rep. His mindset is always that I'm the best and nobody can beat me."
Kittle believes the way Sherman handles his business has a domino effect on the entire 49ers team.
"That's what breeds competition," Kittle said. "That's how you have a good team. That's our goal. If I can I do what Sherman does on every single play, then I can be one heck of a tight end."
King referenced the famous "Legion of Boom" defensive backfield that Sherman led in the Seahawks' glory days. The results of those teams obviously stand out, but it's the mindset that 49ers can use from Sherman's days leading Seattle to a Super Bowl win.
"I firmly believe the NFL and football, a lot of it is in your head," Kittle said. "You got your body and you gotta be physical and stuff, but if mentally you can get yourself where you can go hit people, that makes you a really good football player."
Expectations are sky-high for the 49ers this season, and wins will follow strong performances from both Kittle and Sherman.