George Kittle

Shanahan uses perfect WWE term to describe Kittle's NFL evolution

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — The Dallas Cowboys already were down for the count.

Then, like Jimmy “Superfly” Snuka off the top rope, 49ers tight end George Kittle finished it off with the final insult.

In the moments following the 49ers’ final touchdown of a 42-10 victory at Levi’s Stadium, Kittle lifted his jersey to reveal an undershirt that read, “F--k Dallas.”


Kittle undoubtedly will hear from the NFL and see money docked from his paycheck. And his action certainly did not win any friends in Dallas, either.

What did 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan think of that?

“Not much,” Shanahan said. “Just Kittle ... WWE stuff ... entertainment. Not really much. Just smiled at it.”

It was Kittle’s night, for sure. He caught three touchdown passes — the most of his seven-year career.

When the game was in hand, Kittle paid homage to former 49ers linebacker Gary Plummer, who had a nearly identical undershirt made for the 1994 NFC Championship Game against the Cowboys.

Of course, on Sunday night there was no way Kittle could lift up his jersey without people taking notice.

He has turned into such a popular figure that his every move on the field is followed, watched and photographed.

Yes, he has come a long way since entering the NFL in virtual obscurity.

Kittle was a fifth-round pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He was the ninth tight end selected after a college career at Iowa that consisted of 25 games over four seasons with 48 catches (total), 737 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“We were real excited about him at camp,” Shanahan said. “We thought he had a chance to be a real good tight end. He battled some injuries but fought through it all and we didn't know how special he'd be. But we knew we got a steal right away.”

Kittle was clean-cut and mostly proper back in those days, Shanahan recalled.

“It's funny, you go back and watch his film from the first year and he had no ponytails, socks were pulled up perfect, no wristbands,” Shanahan said. “You watch him now and he is a WWE rockstar.

"So it's been fun to be with him this whole time.”

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