NFL

Bill Belichick on George Kittle: ‘He’s as good as anybody that I’ve coached’

"I'd put him right at the top of the league there, period."

Bill Belichick thinks very highly of George Kittle. Tony Avelar/AP Photo

In Bill Belichick’s eyes, San Francisco 49ers standout George Kittle is a complete tight end who does everything well.

The Patriots head coach, in separate video conferences both Monday and Tuesday, gushed about one of quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo’s favorite targets.

“I’d put him right at the top of the league there, period,” the Patriots head coach said of Kittle. “His ability to run, catch, get open, after the catch, block, he does everything at a high level. He’s as good as anybody that I’ve coached or as good as anybody that we’ve played against.”

Belichick didn’t mention Rob Gronkowski by name, but some believe his comments imply that he thinks Kittle is at least at Gronkowski’s level.

He said Kittle – who is coming off a 109-yard, one-touchdown performance in a win over the Los Angeles Rams – doesn’t have any weak points and is outstanding at every phase of the game. Kittle, who has 30 catches for 380 yards and two touchdowns this season despite missing two games, helps open everything up for the entire offense according to Belichick.

“If you pay too much attention to him, he creates opportunities for some of their other outstanding players,” Belichick told reporters Monday. “And if you don’t pay enough attention to him, then he can kill you.”

The next day, he was just as complimentary, reiterating that the 6-foot-4-inch, 249-pound Kittle “pretty much excels in every area.” Belichick said that Kittle stacks up with just about anybody historically in terms of what he’s been able to do to this point in his career.

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Kittle, 27, has been selected to the Pro Bowl twice and is widely considered one of the best players in football. Belichick said that tight ends such as Mark Bavaro, Mike Ditka, and John Mackey used to do everything well in previous decades, and Kittle has a similar makeup.

He did say it’s too early at this point to talk about Kittle as a Hall of Famer, but he loves everything he’s seen from him to this point.

“You don’t see as many of those type of players these days,” Belichick said Tuesday, “but certainly Kittle looks like he could do everything that you would want a tight end to do.”

The Patriots are set to face the 49ers this Sunday, Oct. 25, at 4:25 p.m.

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