When you’re a rookie, there’s really no better birthday present than scoring your first NFL touchdown. That’s precisely what San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle did in Indianapolis on Sunday, and his birthday was the next day, Monday. He showed much promise during training camp and expectations for the season were high but he has been limited with a hamstring injury. Finally facing the Colts, he had the chance to show his potential, lungeing with a second effort to get the ball into the end zone for a score.
Not only was the game special because it was his birthday and the touchdown, but he hit the milestone in front of several family members who were in town to see him and his cousin, Colts TE Henry Krieger Coble, play.
Kittle spoke to the media after the game:
Brian’s thrown great balls just giving me the opportunity to go up and make a play, that’s all I wanted to do and I’m just glad that coach Shanahan gives me those opportunities. That’s all I was doing, trying to take advantage of it
You had a couple of drops the last two weeks. Does a game like this help you build confidence?
Yeah, it helps making catches, making plays; it just helps everyone’s confidence. You want to make those plays every single week. Sometimes you have more opportunities than others, but I’m glad that I could do as much as I could for the team this week. I could have done more earlier in the game so hopefully maybe next week that will change the outcome. We just got to get back to it.
On your touchdown catch, did you realize how close you were and what you needed to do to get in?
Yeah, all I did was, I caught it and tried to find the goal line. I knew that was going to hit me, so I tried to absorb it as much as I could and just tried to extend, make sure my knees didn’t go down. I thought I got in right when they called it. I’m glad they called it a touchdown first before the review, so I could celebrate a little bit. That was fun.
Did you have a lot of family at the game?
I did. I think I had like four aunts and uncles, my whole side of the family, then my cousin Henry, his whole side of the family plus some aunts and uncles over there so it was really fun.
Is a good measure for this team improvement, as opposed to winning?
I mean I think that’s the goal for every team, you want to improve every single day, every single week and that’s what we’re going to come back and do. We’re going to take 24 hours on this game and as soon as that’s up we’re going to move on to the next game and get ready to roll. I’m just going to keep trying to take advantage of the opportunities that Coach Shanahan gives me and just focus on next week.
Is there frustration in not getting a win yet?
Like I said for me, something I learned with coach Ferentz, you get 24 hours to sulk or feel as bad as you want to feel and then after that you just gotta move on or else this is going to hang around the whole season. So, I’m going to take 24 hours and feel pretty bad about it and then be ready to roll and be looking forward to next week.