George Kittle reacts to Travis Kelce breaking his NFL record
San Francisco 49ers tight end George Kittle held the NFL single-season record for receiving yards by a tight end for two years.
Kittle’s mark of 1,377 yards — set in 2018 — was surpassed last Sunday by Kansas City Chiefs star Travis Kelce. The KC tight end broke the record after he tallied 98 yards against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 16, giving him 1,416 on the 2020 season.
However, Kittle isn’t hurt about Kelce setting the new record. In fact, he’s happy for his buddy:
“I’m happy that he broke my record because it gives me something else to go after again next year,” Kittle said, via Chris Biderman of the Sacramento Bee. “That’s what I’m looking forward to. I think he’s going to continue to break records, he’s going to continue to set the bar. It gives all of us other tight ends something else to chase.”
It’s not the first time in 2020 that Kelce has one-upped Kittle. In August, Kelce signed a four-year, $57.25 million contract extension hours after Kittle inked a shiny five-year, $75 million deal.
Beyond being friends, the 27-year-old Kittle, who is four years younger than Kelce, has admired the Chiefs’ prolific tight end since college. Kittle said he’s honored to have his record broken by a tight end of Kelce’s caliber:
“He’s raised the bar, he’s raised the standard,” Kittle said. “If guys don’t compete with that, then he’s just going to run away with it. So it’s really fun to watch a tight end like that succeed at such a high level and play at such a high level week in and week out. I mean, he’s one of my favorite players in the NFL to watch. And I think, honestly, he should really be up for offensive player of the year because of the things that he’s doing at tight end. It’s actually amazing.”
Kelce’s 2020 season has not just been elite by traditional tight end measures. Entering Week 17, Kelce trails Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stefon Diggs by 43 yards for the NFL lead in receiving yards. If he were to eclipse Diggs, he would become the first tight end in NFL history to lead the league in receiving.
The Chiefs (14-1) host the Los Angeles Chargers (6-9) in the season finale at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday. However, with KC locked into the AFC’s top seed, Andy Reid will rest QB Patrick Mahomes, and his top pass-catchers could sit out, too.
As for Kittle, he has reached 1,000 yards twice in his four-year NFL career. Injuries have limited him to seven starts this season, though he came back from a broken foot to post four catches for 92 yards against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 16.
The 49ers (6-9) will end their season with a home matchup against the Seattle Seahawks (11-4).