San Francisco 49ers center Daniel Kilgore has been through a lot since he was drafted by the team in 2011. He has seen some pretty incredible highs and some of the worst lows that the NFL has to offer. More importantly, however, is how happy he is to see where the team is headed and to be a part of it.
Kilgore, who calls the Bay Area his second home, was jovial and comedic during the conference call to discuss his re-signing with the team. You could sense the lightness in his voice having the weight of free agency lifted off of his shoulders. Much different than the slightly nervous player who was reluctant to leave the 49ers locker room at the end of the season “clean your locker out” day because he didn’t know if he’d be back. He was really just trying to savor every moment.
While Kilgore is very aware of the Jimmy Garoppolo hype train, and actually a passenger on it, he tries to keep from reading next seasons predictions. He knows that in the NFL any team that is a dark horse could end up being a contender. More importantly it’s the brotherhood and friendships he has forged with his fellow teammates that kept him longing to be back. The chemistry that John Lynch and the 49ers built in the locker room is one that is unique, or as Garoppolo himself stated, “rare.” Kilgore explained his amazement that people from such varied backgrounds, former teams and ages could mesh together so successfully.
Kilgore’s play improved tremendously towards the end of the season. He attributes it not only to Garoppolo being a great leader and captain but also because his body felt “pretty good.” He played his first full 16 game season as a starter after battling a hamstring injury in 2016. He also credited more reps on the field as a reason for his improvement, getting more comfortable in Kyle Shanahan’s offense and building trust with his guards. “Getting away from holding calls” was also something he worked to improve upon throughout the season.
Rough beginning to season (especially Week 4 vs. AZ) left Kilgore with a 51.0 overall grade on the year, 23rd out of 35 centers. He was a Top 10 center in the five weeks Jimmy G was at the helm, not allowing a sack or QB hit. #49ers— Jeff Deeney (@PFF_Jeff) February 14, 2018
Kilgore ended his call talking about the most important part of his job: Keeping Joe Staley in line and pissed off so he plays well. He remarked that he has been in touch with his left tackle throughout the offseason nearly everyday, revealing that Staley is “always bitching about something.”
Kilgore is home in Tennessee for the offseason and played on the pandemonium of the recent signing of Garoppolo.
“I’m actually back home waiting for my private jet to fly to the Bay Area and sign with that feather pen. [laughing] It’s 2018 they just did a docusign so it’s all good. I was actually in the middle of working out when I signed my contract, but I would take the private jet, yes.”