George Kittle

Kittle applauds Purdy's leadership, growth as 49ers QB

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NASHVILLE, Tenn., — It was a 49ers reunion at the fourth annual Tight End University -- a camp co-hosted by All-Pro George Kittle and Kansas City Chiefs superstar Travis Kelce -- and one common theme at the event was the positive state of Brock Purdy as the leader of San Francisco's offense.

Kittle has not been on the field with Purdy since undergoing core muscle surgery during the offseason, but he has noticed the quarterback’s command of the players on the field.

“He looks like the guy, which is really nice,” Kittle told NBC Sports Bay Area. “He’s in the building every day and is the same guy every single day, consistent. He’s incredibly competitive. It’s fun seeing him yell at guys when they don’t hit their route depth or have the wrong landmark.” 

Former 49ers tight ends Charlie Woerner and Ross Dwelley joined Kittle at the two-day event, and while they both now are part of the Atlanta Falcons’ organization, they remarked on how Purdy was able to take control of coach Kyle Shanahan’s offense in his debut season. 

“Super proud of Brock,” Woerner said. “He handled everything like a pro, coming in starting as the third string. From where he started, and how he showed up every day, just continuing being a pro, and ready for his opportunity. And when he got it, everyone knows he took advantage of it, and has been crushing it.”

Dwelley, who was with Woerner during Purdy’s first offseason as a rookie, noticed from the start that the quarterback’s intensity was at another level, even with his limited rookie reps.

“He really kind of came in and he just had the mindset that he didn’t really care about anything else going on,” Dwelley said. “He was really to himself and focused on learning the playbook as best he could, as fast as he could, and doing the best with every opportunity he got during that training camp.

“I don’t know if Kyle has gone on the record, but he knew he had something special in Brock after OTAs of his first year and midway though training camp. He just happened to get an opportunity when some guys got injured, and now he’s who he is. It’s a pretty cool thing to see, and he deserves it all.” 

Kittle, who is on pace to return to the field during training camp next month, is looking forward to being in the 49ers’ huddle with Purdy again and believes the offense only can improve with the third-year pro at the helm.

“He’s taking control of the offense and making it his,” Kittle said. “It’s Kyle’s, and Kyle is calling the plays, but Brock is getting guys to do what he wants them to do, which is really fun to see.”

Kittle registered his third career 1,000-yard season and received his fifth Pro Bowl nod and second All-Pro recognition in 2023, all with Purdy under center.

Woerner, who will miss seeing his former quarterback’s progress in person, remains excited for what’s to come.

“Super proud of him and off the field how he’s been handling himself, and just really happy for him,” Woerner said. 

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