Many of the San Francisco 49ers have tried to explain what Celek Time is and how it started. The best explanation came from head coach Kyle Shanahan who said it started facing the New York Giants when just before the half, tight end Garrett Celek had three catches in a row, ending in a 47 yard touchdown. Shanahan told the team, “I guess they didn’t know it was Celek Time!” It caught with the team and now any time the 6th year tight end touches the ball, it’s Celek Time.
One of the great things about Celek Time is that it’s namesake seems a little embarrassed about the whole ordeal, but flattered at the same time. As noted in the video below, George Kittle explains that Celek’s humility just makes his teammates want to do it even more. They have started to tap the top of their left wrist every time they yell for him as well.
Celek’s NFL career has started out slowly, stuck behind Vernon Davis and Vance McDonald on the depth chart. He spent most of 2014 out due to injuries, and finished the year on injured reserve. His best season was 2016, where he finished with 29 catches for 350 yards.
Under Shanahan, Celek has been used as more than just a run blocker, affecting the passing game now as well. He feels like Shanahan’s offense allows players more freedom to make plays as opposed to sticking to a script.
You know, I think sometimes we have freedom, where some [other] offenses you gotta do what it says on paper. But here, I think we have a little more freedom to do what we feel will get us open at times.
Celek is very complimentary of Jimmy Garoppolo noting that he is smooth going through his progressions as opposed to being robotic. With 49ers games going down to the wire on a regular basis this season, Celek also notes that Garoppolo always has his eyes on the clock, even in the huddle. When asked why the completion rates have gone up, Celek explained that Garoppolo has great touch on the ball but yet still has a fast ball when it’s needed. The offense is also all “on the same level,” he doesn’t deliver the ball late, it get there at the same time as the receiver.
This season Celek is at 20 catches for 308 yards with 271 of those yards in the last seven games. He only needs 43 yards to surpass his personal best in the NFL, and with Celek Time becoming a trend on the rise, it looks like it will happen.
When asked about the Celek Time phenomenon, the tight end gets a little embarrassed but says he still enjoys it at the same time.
Uh, I mean it is what it is, the guys have a lot of fun with it, I go with it, but um, I don’t know. I enjoy it, you know, I think it’s fun. If it gets the guys all excited then, you know, keep it going. I’m cool with it.
I think just because some guys see me, in the past I haven’t had the craziest career and now the past couple games I’ve made some big plays. And however the Celek Time started, the guys are going with it and we’re having fun with it.