Why Lynch compares Kittle to two ex-Pro Bowl receivers


George Kittle is listed at 6-foot-4 and 250 pounds. Former four-time Pro Bowl receiver Hines Ward is listed at 6-foot and 205 pounds, and former five-time Pro Bowl receiver Steve Smith is listed even small at just 5-foot-9 and 195 pounds. 

Still, 49ers general manager John Lynch sees similarities between the three. How? Not exactly for their roles or style on the field, but more so by how they ignite a fire under their teammates and fan base. 

"It's tough to think of guys," Lynch said Thursday on KNBR. "The guy -- he's on TV over here right now -- Steve Smith the old receiver. I remember he always played like that, man. You always had to have your head on a swivel, because he was always gonna knock your head off.

"Hines Ward was very much like that. I think there are players that just are energy givers to everyone in the stadium and George is as good as I've been around from that standpoint."

Long before Lynch was the 49ers' GM, he was a hard-hitting safety. He made the Pro Bowl nine times, was a two-time All-Pro and now is enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. 

To keep it short and simple, he knows what a problem it can be having a player like Ward, Smith or Kittle comes across the middle and give their squad the exact spark they need. 

Kittle certainly has done that in his play recently, too. Since returning from injured reserve, Kittle has 38 receptions for 530 yards and six touchdowns over the 49ers' last six games. 


But it's his contributions beyond the box score that Lynch has loved seeing from his star tight end. 

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"Very selfless, too. Such a pro," Lynch said. "The coolest thing about George is watching him kind of work his way into being a pro. ... From the day he got here he kind of established a routine and didn't deviate from it.

"He works his tail off, he outworks his competition and when you're talented you have that will to go along with it you can do special things and that's what we're seeing right now."

If Kittle can get close to his production from last week -- 13 catches for 151 yards and one touchdown -- against the Atlanta Falcons this Sunday, Lynch will be more than happy with that too.

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