How would you feel if the greatest coach of all time called you the best player he's ever faced at your position?
That's a question only George Kittle can answer after New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick heaped praise on the San Francisco 49ers tight end Monday.
"I'd put him right at the top of the league there, period," Belichick told the San Francisco media. "He's as good as anybody that I've coached or as good as anybody that we've played against."
Kittle got the chance to respond to Belichick's comments Wednesday on The Adam Schefter Podcast.
"It’s incredible,” Kittle said. “Coming from a coach like Belichick, a future Hall of Fame coach, because of the success he’s had and how long he’s sustained it, he knows what he’s talking about. To get a compliment like that from him, it means a lot.
"It makes me excited even more to play this Sunday and go out there and prove I belong in that conversation."
Many wondered if Belichick's lovefest for Kittle was a swipe at ex-Patriot Rob Gronkowski, who's certainly in the "greatest tight ends of all time" conversation but retired following the 2018 season only to resurface on Tom Brady's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020.
Or this could just be Belichick continuing his pattern of gassing up his opponents before game planning to neutralize them on Sunday.
Kittle, who leads all tight ends this season with 95 receiving yards per game, fully expects to get Belichick's best when the teams meet at Gillette Stadium this weekend.
"It’s going to be interesting, my first time playing the Patriots," Kittle added. "I’m excited to be there and (for) the challenge because every single week they come out swinging and give everyone their best punch. That’s why they’ve been so good for so long."