49ers' George Kittle unbothered by Kyle Shanahan's response to his positivity

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Kittle unbothered by Shanahan's response to his positivity originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

George Kittle and the word "positivity" are synonymous, but not everyone is on board with the 49ers tight end's upbeat outlook on life -- and football.

Coach Kyle Shanahan has spoken out about Kittle's fun-loving attitude in the past, saying that sometimes, he can be too positive in certain situations.

Kittle, however, is going to keep being Kittle.

"Oh, he has before," Kittle told NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco on the latest episode of "49ers Talk," when Maiocco reminded him of Shanahan's previous comments.

"I'm like, 'Hey, look. I'm going to make football as fun as I possibly can for the guys because it's a very stressful sport.' "

From wearing a luchador mask around Levi's Stadium to holding court in one of his eccentric press conferences, Kittle makes the game of football fun for everyone around him, including his teammates.

In a sport with such high stakes -- and expectations -- the 29-year-old knows keeping things light at practices, games and everywhere in between can make a difference both on and off the field.

"There's pressure -- you can't ignore the fact that there is pressure, there's a little anxiety here and there," Kittle continued. "But when you're out there having fun, you kind of forget about all that stuff. And football is really hard if you're just super stressed out all the time."

Shanahan boasts a noticeably different demeanor than Kittle, which is part of what makes him such a good head coach. His dry humor and business-like approach have earned him the respect of the 49ers' locker room -- and three trips to the NFL playoffs in the last four seasons.

"He's always upbeat, he's always the same, probably the most positive guy we have on our team," Shanahan said in December of Kittle. "I get on him for that sometimes -- not everything is perfect -- but that's how he lives his life, and that's why everyone likes having him around."

Kittle has been around Shanahan since both came to San Francisco in 2017 -- Kittle as an NFL rookie, and Shanahan as a first-year head coach. Shanahan has generated NFL Coach of the Year buzz this season with how he has handled injuries to quarterbacks Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, making sure the team still succeeded with rookie Brock Purdy under center.

"I think Kyle does a really good job of -- he sets up his best players for success," Kittle said. "... He gives us a chance to be great."

And Kittle has had plenty of chances to be great this season.

The tight end scored a career-high 11 touchdowns during the 2022 regular season, and he'll look to score his first touchdown of the playoffs on Sunday when the 49ers welcome the Dallas Cowboys to Levi's Stadium for the NFC Divisional Playoffs.

RELATED: How Purdy, Kittle mischievously embrace Iowa college rivalry

While he's giving it his all on the field, Kittle might just crack a joke or two.

"If I can make all my teammates -- like, remind them that we are playing a kid's game, we are having fun -- granted the stakes are incredibly high -- just go out there and enjoy it," Kittle told Maiocco. "Go throw the ball, catch the ball, run your route, block the guy.

"You've done it a hundred thousand times. Just enjoy doing it."

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